First month’s fixtures look tough admits Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough admitted Stags would appear to face a tough opening month to the new campaign after studying the 2022/23 fixtures, which were released last week.

Thursday, 30th June 2022, 1:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th June 2022, 1:45 pm

Stags begin away at Salford City with the first home game being the visit of Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, 6th August.

The month also sees visits by relegated AFC Wimbledon and wealthy promoted Stockport County as well as trips to Leyton Orient and Sutton United.

“It is a tough start,” said Clough. “It does look a tough first month on paper, though you never know how it's going to work out.”

Nigel Clough - tough first month of fixtures.

“Usually when you are at home first game of the season you're away last day and vice-versa.

“Last season we were at home first day and the last day. This season we are away first and last which is a little bit unusual.

“They have a new manager at Salford, but we will be ready for it.”

Clough knows there appears to be no likely whipping boys this time around.

“I think the league will be stronger again this year,” he said.

“Walsall have signed 11 players, Stevenage will sign in excess of that. I think there will be some teams who will fancy their chances this season.

“I think it will be a tough old league and we have got a tough start so we have to be ready for it.

“I thought we were ready for it last season. We have to be ready to start well and not have a sustained bad period during the season. That was the only thing that cost us automatic promotion.”

Stags also face gruelling long midweek trips to Hartlepool, Newport and Carlisle.

“I don't get it,” he said. “I have never understood why these trips are midweek. It is meant to be about supporters – especially at this level.

“There is a lot of long journeys in League Two – and we are Midlands-based, but I think there should be a bit more empathy toward supporters.”

Stags face a home local derby with League One Derby County in the Carabao Cup first round and ex-Rams boss Clough said: “It was a brilliant draw.

“I thought the Papa Johns Trophy draw was good as well and once again we have Derby in that with Grimsby and Man City.

“So again we will get the chance to see Man City and Derby come to the One Call and now Derby in the Caraboa Cup as well.

“I think they will bring a good away following and it's good to have a local game and be at home as well – absolutely ideal.”