Nigel Clough knows Mansfield Town have a big incentive in their next three matches

Nigel Clough wants Mansfield Town to play themselves into a strong position by bagging plenty of points in the next three games.

Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 3:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 3:19 pm
Stags celebrate Rhys Oates’s first half goal during the  win at Bradford. They now have three key games ahead which could define the season.
Stags celebrate Rhys Oates’s first half goal during the  win at Bradford. They now have three key games ahead which could define the season.

Stags begin a key run of fixtures when they face fellow promotion-chasers Exeter City on Friday night, before two testing trips to Tranmere Rovers and Port Vale.

And Clough knows that Stags will be sitting pretty if they can emerge with a good points haul.

“We are looking forward to these games, it's tough against teams in and around you because they have added significance,” he said.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“We know if we can come out of them with positive results then we will be in a very strong position and that is the incentive.

“We like the night matches and it suited Exeter as well to play on the Friday. It will be a special atmosphere under the lights and a match we are looking forward to.

“Everything has clicked for Exeter, they have had spells which they are capable of and it has clicked for them like it has with us.

You have spells where it blends together and they are having one of those spells.”

Clough was also quick to praise the solidity of the Stags defence, which has seen them concede just three times in their last eight games.

And it is a solidity that Clough knows will be needed over the course of the next three matches.

“He (Nathan Bishop) made a brilliant save at the end of the match (Bradford) to keep the header out,” added Clough. “We knew it was a vital save because if they got one at any minute it could all change.

“He has not had a lot to do in recent games, but he’s delighted with the clean sheets he is getting now. He deserved them earlier in the season.

“We were talking on the coach on the way home about the goals conceded. None of them have been from open play, so we are defending well as a team.

“We are restricting the opposition and that will be tested in the next three games.”

Stags will be backed by a vocal crowd as ever, with Clough quick to offer his appreciation of the fans.

"They have been unbelievable this campaign and never more so than during our bad spell.” he added. "They stuck with us and it is nice when we can enjoy a good day out like we did at Bradford.”