Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough was left 'surprised and annoyed' by Stevenage postponement

Nigel Clough says Mansfield Town were left ‘surprised and annoyed’ that Saturday’s home game with Stevenage was postponed.

By Mark Duffy
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 11:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 11:08 am

The visitors reported a large number of positive COVID-19 cases amongst their playing staff 24 hours before the match and requested the match be called off, but Stags released a statement believing that current protocol with regard to the virus meant the fixture would be unaffected.

However, the EFL duly postponed the match, leaving Mansfield boss Nigel Clough frustrated by the impact both short and long-term.

He said: “I was disappointed. We were desperate for the game to be played and were surprised the game was called off as well as annoyed to a certain degree.

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Nigel Clough says Saturday's postponement has done his side few favours.

“But it’s all in the hands of the Football League now and I’m sure they’ll scrupulously investigate the circumstances of the postponement and make sure everything is above board.

“They keep on about the integrity of the competition and the league and everything but for those teams who are down there fighting against relegation, I’m sure they’ll all want to know that everything is how Stevenage said.

"We expected the game to go ahead as COVID is now treated as a normal illness and I don’t think there’s been a game called off since around the 1990s called off due to illness.

“It means we now play five consecutive away games which seems to not give us any advantage, shall we say.”

Clough said he and his players found out about the postponement during training on Friday, meaning a change of plan was swiftly required as to the nature of the session.

He said: “We were training and we found out literally just after the warm-up. We needed to know as it dictated what sort of session we were long and how long we were doing it for, instead of doing the usual, nice and light, pre-match Friday morning. We instead did a more strenuous session to replace the match.

“We were desperate to play having lost the two away games and I think that added to the frustration, certainly of the players on Friday morning. They were more than a little frustrated with the decision. We’d won ten on the spin at home and were looking forward to the game.”