Frustrated Mansfield Town aiming to beat bogey side Harrogate Town for the first time

Mansfield Town will look to put their weekend postponement frustration behind them and try to pick up a first ever win against bogey side Harrogate Town tomorrow night.
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The Stags' home game with Forest Green Rovers was postponed due to the heavy rain on Saturday and now Nigel Clough's men head into Yorkshire to try to extend their unbeaten start to the season to 18 games against a side they have never beaten, losing six and drawing one of their seven clashes.

“We are glad of the Tuesday night game as we didn't want to go two weeks without a game,” said Clough.

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Harrogate are one of our bogey teams and we are yet to beat them in three years.

Mansfield Town forward Lucas Akins during the 3-0 Sky Bet League 2 defeat at Harrogate Town at The EnviroVent Stadium, 18 Nov 2022  
Photo credit : Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.mediaMansfield Town forward Lucas Akins during the 3-0 Sky Bet League 2 defeat at Harrogate Town at The EnviroVent Stadium, 18 Nov 2022  
Photo credit : Chris Holloway / The Bigger
Mansfield Town forward Lucas Akins during the 3-0 Sky Bet League 2 defeat at Harrogate Town at The EnviroVent Stadium, 18 Nov 2022 Photo credit : Chris Holloway / The Bigger

“We have lost six out of the seven games against them so it's about time we got a result.

“It would be a good time to get a positive result there tomorrow night.

“But we know how difficult it is. Every time we have played them, irrespective of their league position, we have failed to win. So we're more than aware of the threats they pose and how difficult they are to break down at times.

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“They had a morale-boosting victory at Colchester on Saturday too.

“It is very difficult to put your finger on one particular thing as to why we have not beaten them.

“It's funny how certain teams just cause you problems – and they have. You try to analyse it and it drives you mad at times.

“I think we have played okay against them at times but not had a break.

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“We had one game where we had two sent off, so that didn't help.

“We defended incredibly poorly against them there last season and were 3-0 down at half-time – three shots and three goals. We certainly have to defend better than that.

“The EFL Trophy game against them a couple of seasons ago probably summed it up when we were 1-0 down and got a penalty.

“Jordan Bowery hit the bar and they actually broke away and scored from the rebound. That sums up the luck we have had against Harrogate so far and I hope that now changes.

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“We need to concentrate more on ourselves and say if we are at it and doing what we can do well then it shouldn't matter too much what they can do.”

He added: “I want to see us looking fresh and on the front foot as we were at Notts County.

“We need to pick up where we left off. That's the only thing about having a 10 day break, yes it's a good rest but sometimes it can break your rhythm.

“I think Harrogate play slightly differently to the way they have played in previous seasons and still have some very good and dangerous players.

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“Away there on a late October evening on a Tuesday night I don't think it will be particularly pretty at times. It's certainly one in which you have to win your battles and not give anything away.”

Saturday's game was called off after an early morning pitch inspection following heavy rain from Storm Babet.

It left Stags unable even to train.

“The rainfall was pretty bad and the training ground was all flooded,” said Clough.

“I was a little bit disappointed it was called off so early, but you can understand that taking into consideration the travelling supporters.

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“Locally, even getting our own supporters to the game may have been a problem as well. All in all it was a sensible decision but a disappointing one.

“The last thing we wanted was the game off. After 17 games unbeaten you want to play.

“The groundsman thought it was going to be on, but the referee thought there was a problem area and the sky was still full of rain.

“There was nowhere we could train – everywhere was flooded – and we didn't want to risk going on the artificial surface with them. So players were sent programmes to do at home.

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“Even travelling around was a problem in certain areas so sending them programmes was the best option.

“So we just had a quiet weekend – we don't get too many opportunities for that. It was a chance for players to sit back and have a little break.

“We've then had a good session on Monday morning ready for Harrogate.”

He continued: “Forest Green is now just another one we have to rearrange somewhere down the line.

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“I would think it depends on how we and they do in the cups. Obviously we will have a free Saturday for the second round of the FA Cup if we were out and they were out. That would be ideal to put it in then.”

There could be an early return from long-term injury for left back Stephen McLaughlin on the bench tomorrow after improving quicker than expected.

“Stephen McLaughlin is a bit closer,” said Clough.

“He has had a couple of training sessions now and with Baily Cargill being out we might even throw him on the bench tomorrow night, we will see.

“He is not quite ready but he could do 10 or 15 minutes, though we are aware we said that at both Northampton and Newport and he didn't actually see the 15 minutes through!

“But he is looking good and strong, so he may be in the squad.”

However, Cargill misses the game through suspension and is expected to be replaced in central defence by Lewis Brunt.