Boss Nigel Clough warns against complacency as Mansfield Town aim to extend run against much-improved Colchester United

Nigel Clough has warned against any complacency as Mansfield Town look to extend their unbeaten EFL run to 10 games against visiting Colchester United tomorrow night.

Monday, 7th February 2022, 5:30 pm
NIgel Clough - warning Colchester will be no pushovers.
NIgel Clough - warning Colchester will be no pushovers.

Stags' record-breaking eight-game winning streak was ended by a 0-0 midweek draw at Harrogate Town last week and, with Colchester in 20th place, Clough hopes fans won't think three points are in the bag before a ball is kicked.

“There is a danger that people just assume we're going to win tomorrow night as our home form is so good, but that doesn't happen in football,” he said.

“I think we're playing a different animal to two or three weeks ago.”

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The U's have not lost since Wayne Brown took the hot seat for the third time as interim manager last month.

“They went down to Sutton and were a few minutes away from getting a result.

“Since Wayne Brown has come back in for the last two away games they've had outstanding results – winning 3-0 at Salford and then 1-0 at Orient – not conceded a goal,” said Clough.

“Any team that has Judge, Sears, Skuse and Chambers and the other six or seven you put around them, they're going to benefit from those four players.

“We talk about the experience and quality we've brought in, but those four are as good as any four players in League Two.

“We have got ourselves in potentially a good position – but that's all it is at the moment. There is still a big three months to go.

“We went down to Colchester, played well enough, and were 1-0 up in the 93rd minute and a penalty was awarded against us which we are still aggrieved about to this day.

“So we ended up drawing 1-1 instead of getting our third win of the season and things just started tailing away from there.”But Clough didn't feel they had a score to settle with Colchester.

“It was more a refereeing error than anything else,” he said. “They just converted a penalty we didn't think was one.”

He added: “There is a quiet determination down there in the dressing room that they want to keep this run going.

“I think that was shown when we drew at Harrogate last week. It was a good point really – you don't just keep winning and winning.

“But there was a little bit of an air of disappointment that we hadn't won a ninth on the spin.

“So much can happen in football, you don't take anything for granted, especially after two months ago when we were as low down as we were.

“Also, a lot of our good and best performances have been at home and we have a large imbalance now with a lot more away games to play than at home. We have to deal with that as it's slightly more difficult winning on the road.

“Our target remains the top seven and we will see what happens from there. Let's stay in those play-off places and see how close we can get to anything else.

“Chasing the top three has been the case in previous seasons here as well where they have been there right until the death in one or two instances and not quite managed it. We won't be talking about it too much.

“But we can't forget where we've come from and how fragile it is. We are very conscious it could very quickly go the other way as well. We will do everything we can to avoid that.

“The line has not been crossed yet between confidence and pressure. We certainly won't go into any sort of arrogance or complacency. But I think as we get later on in the season, possibly a bit of nervous energy will creep in and that will be another test for us to try to overcome.”

New loan signings Matty Longstaff and Jamie Murphy join the squad for the first time tomorrow.

Stags do not have the best of records against the U's, winning only once in their last 13 meetings – and that was away.

Their last home win over them was back in November 2002 with five of the six since drawn and one lost.