Delighted Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough closing in on new striker as deal to sell Danny Johnson looks set to go through

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough was delighted by his side's 3-0 demolition of his former club Sheffield United in tonight's friendly.

Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 10:37 pm

And he also revealed he is close to signing another striker while a deal looks set to go through to sell transfer-listed Danny Johnson, who played part of the behind-closed-doors game against a powerful Championship outfit tonight.

“I am delighted with that,” said Clough.

“It was a step up again from Saturday with the quality of performance tonight, despite us switching it around and people playing in different positions.

Actrion from tonight's 3-0 friendly win over Sheffield United. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media

“I thought after the first five minutes we were very good indeed.”

Young striker James Gale set up the first two goals for Hiram Boateng and Rhys Oates and Clough said: “I think he played the last 45/50 minutes and did well and battled away.

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Mansfield Town see off Championship neighbours Sheffield United 3-0 in fine pre-...

“I think it took him five or 10 minutes to get into the game with the quality of the opposition as they are good Championship defenders that close you down quickly. But once he got into his stride he did very well with two good assists.”

Boateng crowned the night with a spectacular curling 18-yarder near the end and Clough beamed: “It was as good a goal as you will see all season.

“Can you get Goal of the Season in a pre-season friendly? It was an incredible finish.

“Laps (George Lapslie) played him a great little ball on the edge of the box, he made half a yard and as soon as he hit it I thought it was gong in.

“But it always looks more spectacular when it goes in off the far post.”

The kick-off was put back to allow the heat of Britain's hottest ever day on record to die down.

“We didn't want players to really have more than 60 minutes tonight because it is the equivalent of about 80 minutes in the heat we played in,” he said.

“So we jigged it all around. Losing Will Swan this afternoon with a tight groin messed the plans up a little bit, but Danny Johnson came in and did 40-odd minutes which helped us out.

“Hopefully Will will be all right for Saturday, if not we have a squad game against Derby on Tuesday.

“Stephen McLaughlin also had a right Achilles in training yesterday so missed out – pitches are very hard at the moment.

“James had a scan on his calf and is going to be a few weeks. I think only Perch and Keiran Wallace will be missing for the Salford game at the moment.”

Clough was happy to see versatile Jordan Bowery have a spell at centre half tonight, saying: “We thought about it last season. He has played there in one or two friendlies and things before. But he has all the attributes if we need him to do it at any point.

“I was talking about it to James Perch last week. Jordan did it in training. He has pace and reads the game and comes out with it.

“It is good to see people in different positions. Ollie Clarke played right centre half for the last 30 minutes and laps went to right wing back and was excellent.

“You never know at times during the season with the smallish squad we are going to have to fill in in certain places and positions and they have proved they can do it.”

He added: “We have now played the three at the back for the first four games and only conceded the one goal from a corner on Saturday.

“They have looked pretty solid most of the time and goalkeeper's not had much to do.

“Riley Harbottle is certainly ready for League Two and they looked a good, strong three with John-Joe O'Toole and Oli Hawkins. If Perch and Elliott Hewitt are our three main ones and could be the starting three, if we go with a three, at Salford.”

On signing a new striker, Clough said: “We're still making enquiries.

“We have put bids in that have been turned down. There is a possibility of one on loan or a permanent. We'll see it goes.

“But it will probably be dependant on something happening with Danny Johnson, which looks like it will happen.

“We are trying to get to the finer details of a deal for him. I don't think we're too far away so we're hopeful something might get done this week.

“I think it will be best for everybody. Danny has never been a problem for a minute while he has been here. It's just sometimes in football it sometimes doesn't quite work out.”