Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough slams needless early return to action for League Two clubs

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has slammed the decision to make League Two clubs kick off a week early next season due to the forthcoming winter World Cup in Qatar.

Monday, 30th May 2022, 8:06 pm
Updated Monday, 30th May 2022, 8:06 pm

With Stags seeing their season extended in the play-offs, Clough believes it puts his side at a disadvantage when they begin again on 30th July.

“That is a week earlier than we should be,” he said.

“Again we are having something imposed on us because of a World Cup in Qatar that will not affect us one bit.

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Nigel Clough - angry over big kick-off date.

“But we are having to start a week early in League Two because of a World Cup. It is absolutely ridiculous. We are the one team who has got to a final and lost.

“So we are at a slight disadvantage straight away. The others will all have had two or three weeks extra to prepare.

“The only other one who will have a disadvantage is the one who comes up from the Conference through the play-offs as they are even later.

“That will be between Solihull and Grimsby and for the winner you're talking about eight weeks from actually finishing the season to starting again.”

Clough added: “We have to get on with it, though, and our aim will be to have another successful season and try to go that one step further.

“The Wembley defeat energises you and makes you even more determined to do it next year.

“I think the players, after a day or two, will want to get back at it as soon as possible. They will want to put it right, having been so close.

“Let's do everything we can to get in the top three, though if we go through the play-offs again, we do.”

Clough added: “We have to get on with it, though, and our aim will be to have another successful season and try to go that one step further.

“The Wembley defeat energises you and makes you even more determined to do it next year.

“I think the players, after a day or two, will want to get back at it as soon as possible. They will want to put it right, having been so close.

“Let's do everything we can to get in the top three. If we go through the play-offs again, we do. But we will do all we can to make the top three. We were so close to achieving that third place in the end.”