Record-breaking Mansfield Town gunning for first win over bogey side Harrogate Town

Mansfield Town head to bogey side Harrogate Town tonight (Tuesday) aiming to extend their new club winning league record to nine games.

Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 12:26 am
Mansfield Town defender Richard Nartey tackles Harrogate Town forward Luke Armstrong in this season's meeting at the One Call Stadium - Pic Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town defender Richard Nartey tackles Harrogate Town forward Luke Armstrong in this season's meeting at the One Call Stadium - Pic Chris Holloway

Stags set a new record of eight wins in a row on Saturday, but boss Nigel Clough knows it won't be easy against a Harrogate side who have won all four meetings since they came into the Football League, three in the league and one in the EFL Trophy.

“Harrogate on their day, like a lot of teams, are as good as anybody in the league,” said Clough.

“I'd say they are as close to being a bogey team in the last 18 months as we've had here.”

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Clough is hoping the powerful storm winds that hampered Saturday's game will have disappeared by tonight.

“I'd rather play in snow, rain, sleet, anything but the wind as it does make it so difficult for any team to get it down and play. But we will deal with the conditions up there whatever they are,” he said.

Exciting Middlesbrough loanee striker Cal Kavanagh made a positive impression in a 19-minute cameo for his Harrogate Town debut on Saturday.

Clough has heard all about the 18-year-old Irish youth international and said: “He is Graham Kavanagh's lad.

“I've not seen him, but I think he an exciting young player.”

Clough hopes Stags can further extend their current form tonight.

“The results have been quite incredible over the last couple of months none more so than Saturday, given the conditions,” he said.

“It was very difficult given the windy conditions to get the ball down and play and I have never seen so many balls go over the stands. I think we lost a fair few on Saturday.

“You don't get many opportunities to break club records – and this one had been in place 30 years, which is an awfully long time. We desperately wanted to beat it, having equalled it at Barrow last week.

“That might never be beaten for another 30,40, 50 years – you never know.

“So it was another three points but a special day when you break a record.

“We could extend it by another game on Tuesday – that's the aim now and there is a steely determination.

“To win 14 out of 16 without a draw is highly unusual in football.”

With a run of home games amid away games being postponed, Stags now face a tough schedule of away games with only two of the next eight at home.

“We are very conscious we have a lot more away matches which in some ways is not ideal,” he said.

“But we've done well on the road in the last few weeks - not earlier in the season. That belief has got to stay.

“We're also conscious that it can be quite fragile in football. Yes, we're riding this wave at the moment but we know it can also go the other way.

“We started the season brilliantly then, after a couple of iffy results, all of a sudden we couldn't win for a long time.

“It's still quite fragile – we are not 100 per cent there.

“The difference with teams like Forest Green is that they have been up at the top of the league there for a few seasons and they had an incredible result on Saturday.

“It just shows they are a bit further ahead than any other team in the league.”

George Lapslie will again miss out tonight though should be fit to face Colchester United next Tuesday, but there is still no timescale on a return from injury for Kellan Gordon.

Stags were last night unable to confirm if deadline signings Matty Longstaff and Jamie Murphy would be able to join the squad.

Harrogate have lost four of their last five games, conceding 12 and scoring none in that time, but did beat struggling Oldham 3-0 in their last home game.