Manager Nigel Clough plans increased player rotation every game as fixture backlog hits Mansfield Town next month

Manager Nigel Clough plans to rotate four or five players every game once the congested Saturday/Tuesday run of fixtures kicks in for promotion-chasing Mansfield Town.

Andy Garner and Nigel Clough - rotation plans on players to get through big fixtures backlog.
Andy Garner and Nigel Clough - rotation plans on players to get through big fixtures backlog.

His promotion-chasing side face a hectic couple of months over March and April and he said: “I think in the last couple of game we've probably had the strongest bench we've had all season and it's brilliant.

“That was the idea of trimming the squad down this January and going with 18 outfield players.

“Of the 18, we don't mind starting any one of them at any time – that's the idea, especially with March and April being as hectic as they are.

“It's not so apparent now as we're Saturday to Saturday.

“But when we get into March and April and see all those midweeks, that's when we're really going to need them and trying to make four or five changes without affecting the quality will be the key.”

Clough added: “It's lovely when you need to change something or bring a sub on and you look around and see the faces that are back there now. “Even when you're writing the team out, it's a great comfort to see the quality of what we've got there.

“Many years ago you had a 13/14 man squad and you'd probably get through the season – but you need more than that now as the game is quicker, you have to work harder in games and recovery time is the same as it always has been.

“Maybe players aren't quite as robust as they were a few years ago.

“We made three changes last weekend, one enforced, but were able to bring in the captain Ollie Clarke, and a Premier League midfielder which is a lovely position to be in.”