Loan keeper Nathan Bishop the unsung hero believes Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough believes Manchester United loanee goalkeeper Nathan Bishop has been the unsung hero of Mansfield Town's season so far but that has been lost amid the defeats and goals conceded by the team.
Bishop, 21, produced an outstanding late save as Stags earned their first clean sheet of the campaign in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Leyton Orient and Clough said: “I think the goalkeeper was outstanding against Leyton Orient in everything he did.
“I was disappointed with one or two of his kicks, but we'll forgive him that.
“We have lost sight of him a little bit because of everything that's been going on and all the goals we've been conceding and defensive mistakes.
“I think he has been an absolute beacon as a professional doing his job behind them.
“He's not had a chance with many of the goals he's conceded this season – maybe the one against Bradford when he could have parried it away and they got the winner. But that's not bad in nine or 10 games.
“Apart from that he has been brilliant. When you think he's hardly played at all last season, he has settled in superbly with the lads.
“He is enjoying it and I think, hopefully, he's going to keep a few more clean sheets this season.
Clough continued: “I think when you look at the other goalkeepers in our league, and the one above, he is as good as anything.
“Although he's not played many games for the best part of 18 months, you can see he's been around a place like Manchester United.
“He talks about Fernandes doing his shooting afterwards, it's bound to improve you.
“Now he is ready to play a full season at this level and I would expect him to go up a level or two if he goes out on loan next season.
“He spreads confidence straight away. After the first session or two the back four were absolutely delighted to have him behind them.
“They knew straight away we'd got a top goalkeeper – and it helps.”
Striker Oli Hawkins played at centre half last weekend and he added: “I think Nathan is probably up there, with what I've seen, among the best shot-stoppers I've been with. And he is still so young.
“Any time anyone shoots or a team have a chance, I think 'Bish has got this, he will save it'.
“He is a massive presence and us four in front can't thank him enough.”