Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough’s warning ahead of Harrogate Town rematch
Mansfield Town cross swords with Harrogate Town for the second time this week on Saturday with boss Nigel Clough warning how tough they are to break down should his side go behind.
Harrogate made it three wins in a row over Mansfield with Tuesday's 3-1 Papa Johns Trophy victory and ahead of Saturday's revenge mission at the One Call Stadium, he said: “They are the sort of team you don't want to go 1-0 down against as they are difficult to break down and create chances against. So we have to be mindful of that.
“We found that last season when we lost both games 1-0, despite having quite a bit of the ball at times.
“Having said that, our strength is going forward and we have to keep doing that.”
He added: “A clean sheet would be great – we haven't had one for I don't know how long.
“It's not just the goalkeeper and the back four – the whole team get you a clean sheet. There will be an emphasis on that. “But I don't want it to be at the expense of our attacking play.”
Clough hopes a decision or two may go Stags' way after some big ones that have recently cost them dearly.
He said: “It's been a frustrating week – especially at Swindon last Saturday, where we controlled large parts of the game and created the vast majority of the chances.
“We ended up very unlucky losing the game.
“We certainly didn't make the most of our chances and situations, but we are not getting help.
“We have had a major decision or two go against us in each one of the last four games now.”
Both Stags and Harrogate changed most of their sides on Tuesday and both will do the same again on Saturday.
“Whichever personnel they play they will be exactly the same with the same sort of tenacity and intensity they play with,” said Clough.
“Having found their footing in the league last year, their first one in the Football League, they have improved and strengthened their squad and they are up there for reason.
“You saw the difference on Tuesday night. They have been building their squad.
“They made eight changes but still didn't have too many youngsters in. We had seven of the 11 under 22 and that's our squad.
“They had men out there last night which is why it was such a good experience for our young players.”