Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough warns Forest Green Rovers will be no pushovers as Stags aim to extend unbeaten run

Mansfield Town take their phenomenal 17-game unbeaten start to the season into Saturday's home clash with second-bottom Forest Green Rovers.
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But boss Nigel Clough warned the visitors would be no pushovers.

Stags' season hit new heights on Saturday with a magnficent 4-1 away local derby win at leaders Notts County to push Stags into the top three.

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But a delighted Clough said: “It's a long season and we won't get carried away in October as we've not even played a third of the games yet.

Stags celebrate their second goal in Saturday's 4-1 win at Notts County. Pic by Chris & Jeanette Holloway/The Bigger celebrate their second goal in Saturday's 4-1 win at Notts County. Pic by Chris & Jeanette Holloway/The Bigger
Stags celebrate their second goal in Saturday's 4-1 win at Notts County. Pic by Chris & Jeanette Holloway/The Bigger

“I wish it was April. Saturday was three points and a good victory – and I know it means a lot more to everybody as it was a Nottinghamshire derby.

“Being 17 games unbeaten I think is more of an achievement than just the one off on Saturday. You can have a one off game but to do it over 17 games and not be beaten is special.

“This is where the draws are important as well. All of a sudden we draw three games and we haven't won, which is not ideal.

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“But when you win all of a sudden you have six points from four games and you stay unbeaten as well.

“We have just had four tough games in a row so to come out of it unscathed and unbeaten is a big achievement. The run also includes winning at Hillsborough and beating Peterborough.

“We started on 4th August, so to still be unbeaten in all competitions by mid-October is a hell of an achievement so far.”

He added: “We have been building for nearly three years, gradually improving along with way with better players and better performances.

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“Confidence grows and 17 games unbeaten is a great achievement from the start of a season. Sometimes you get these runs during a season when you get into a run of games but to do it from the first day is a much bigger achievement.

“We have good players coming back from injury soon and we will try to keep this run going as long as possible.”

Forest Green hit some form last weekend, beating fellow strugglers Colchester 5-0 and Clough said: “We have seen Forest Green a few times this season and all the reports coming back say they are a good team.

“All of a sudden they have struggled a little bit and are in the bottom few, but they are far better than their league position suggests.

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“It probably says a lot about the strength of the league where everybody can beat anybody.

“When you have a player like Troy Deeney up front it is an extremely dangerous one for us on Saturday.

“I think they have changed their style a bit after having a few different managers. They mix it up at the moment.

“It is a very dangerous game for us. Everyone looks at the league table and sees third playing second bottom, so it's a home win. They are the iffy ones.”

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Ex-Forest Green defender Baily Cargill netted his first goal for Stags last weekend but a fifth yellow card means he will miss out on facing his former club.

“It's not ideal. We did have a dilemma over the decision to play him or Lewis Brunt on Saturday.

“They both did very well in training on Friday but we decided to go for experience.

“Baily popped up with his first goal but he got that yellow card, so Lewis Brunt just comes straight back in.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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On the win at Notts, Clough added: “It was a wonderful day for everybody, none more so than the supporters. It was a brilliant atmosphere.

“First and foremost it was a stunning result.

“The game was a little bit strange in some ways as we have not come out of too many games this season only having had a third of the possession.

“But when we had the ball we hurt them with 21 shots and scored four goals and also restricted Notts to just a few opportunities.

“We needed different qualities on Saturday because of the quality of the side were were playing against.

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“We had to be quite brave. Notts certainly came out of the blocks and we gave away a poor goal.

“After 10 minutes we settled down and stopped them playing first and foremost, and started creating some chances.

“And it was nice to get the goals, having not been able to hit a barn door the week previously I think it's fair to say. It always happens like that. You can have a couple of bad days.

“Most pleasing was our work rate – our running stats were through the roof.”