Great season for club and fans whatever happens on Saturday, says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough

Whatever happens on the final day of the season, Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said it had been an unbelievably exciting campaign, he believed fans had enjoyed it too, and he wanted it to end on a high.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:12 am

Stags could achieve promotion, a place in the play-offs or see their season come to an abrupt end when title-chasing Forest Green Rovers visit on Saturday.

But Clough said: “It has been an unbelievably exciting season – a rollercoaster with ups and downs all the way through, and we're still in there fighting. Let's finish on a high.

“I have never had a season like this as a manager.

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“Usually you're pretty constant. You will have your dips when you'll lose a few games, but to go on that long run we did without winning and then to win as many as we did was incredible.

“To win 13 out of our last 14 home games from where we came from is still remarkable.”

He continued: “I think the supporters have enjoyed it in the main.

“They pay a lot of their hard-earned money to come and watch and travel all over the country in numbers. So we are entitled to try to entertain and put a performance on.

“I honestly think they would rather see us have a real, real go.

“If we'd offered them a 0-0 at Salford with not much going off or a 2-2 with end to end stuff I think they would go for the 2-2. You have to have the entertainment factor there too.

“I know whatever happens on Saturday they will still be supportive. We want a positive outcome to the day but they will still be with us.

“If you can stick with a team like they did throughout that 14-game run without a win you know they will be with you on Saturday whatever.”

Clough said the club was proud of the way it had bounced back from that run of 14 games without a win but, after Monday's dropped points at Salford, urged players not to miss another rare opportunity for success this weekend.

“When we left Northampton in October second from bottom, everybody was absolutely on the floor,” he said.

“If you had said then that on the last day of the season we're not guaranteed to be in the play-offs but still have a chance of automatic, everybody at this club, including supporters, would have taken that.

“We have pride in that. But I don't want it to dissolve into nothing and waste all the work we've put in, not just over the last six months, but over the last nine to 18 months.

“I don't want to waste it on Saturday. I felt there was an element on that on Monday where we missed an opportunity.

“We mustn't miss another one as they don't come along very often.

“You have to work very hard over 45 games to be in this position and a chance of the play-offs and a chance of promotion.”

Had Stags won at Salford their fate would have been in their own hands on Saturday.

“We were despondent on Monday as it was now out of our hands,” he said.

“We knew with Bristol Rovers getting a late winner on Saturday we needed two wins to get automatic.

“But there is no point in looking back on that now. We are where we are and we are still in with a chance.

“We need to put whatever disappointment there was at drawing 2-2 at Salford in a very entertaining game, very quickly behind us as we don't even get a full week – it's only five days.

“It's gone, everything is focused on Forest Green now to get a point or more and we are still in with a chance of getting promoted.”

With Stags so unlucky on major decisions this season Clough said it was easy to see how they could already be up.

“We are eight points off the top and when you look back over 45 games you can get those eight points off the top of your head,” he said.

“But we need to make sure we get in the play-offs so everything after that goes out the window for now.

“Everything is focused towards Saturday and nothing else matters. We will deal with whatever comes after that.”