Nothing else matters but results now, says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough as Stags begin last 10 games countdown at Hartlepool United

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As promotion-chasing Mansfield Town begin their final countdown of 10 games at Hartlepool United tomorrow night, boss Nigel Clough said results are all that matters now.

Stags are a single point outside the players and only four points off the automatic spots with three games in hand and Clough said: “It is one of our games in hand so it's very important we get something - a point even.

“It puts you on the same points as the play-off teams with a game in hand still. If we could get another win, then brilliant, but we certainly want to avoid defeat.

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“They have to focus individually and as a team. No matter what's happened or how tired we feel, with 10 unbelievably important games, 15 hours of football, we just have to raise it for that time we are out on the pitch.

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough - results are all that matters now.Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough - results are all that matters now.
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough - results are all that matters now.

“We are not bothered about training now for the last five or six weeks of the season. Nothing else matters, just those 10 games.

“There will be one or two carrying knocks, but you have to put it to the back of your mind and say this is all that matters, starting tomorrow night.

“You might feel tired and not quite 100 per cent, but it doesn't matter – give it all you've got.”

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Stags beat Hartlepool 3-2 in a Boxing Day thriller but much of the action was hard to see as heavy fog swamped the One Call stadium.

“I hardly saw it - and that was as dramatic a game as you'll get as well,” said Clough.

“We were 2-0 down, came back to lead 3-2 and then they had one disallowed in injury time.

“It was very dramatic and an important win for us at the time.

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“I think that was only Graeme's (boss Graeme Lee) second or third game in charge. He's since had time to work with them and I think they've improved.

“We had someone at the game at Northampton on Saturday and there was very little in it.

“They are a good strong home side, though in the first half of the season they were good at home and in the second half it's reversed a little bit and they have been quite good on the road. It is always one of those difficult places to go.

“Away at Hartlepool, they say, if you don't fancy it you're half beaten before you get there.”

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Stags snatched a last gasp 2-1 win at Oldham on Saturday and Clough said: “We had that euphoria you get when you get a goal with almost the last kick of the game. But then reality sinks in a little bit and we realise we were not as good as we'd hoped to be on the day.

“We'd said how good Oldham could be and they caused us problems throughout the game. Then we got a break, but over the whole season it was no more than we deserved.

“We have scored two late goals in the last two games and taken six points, so I think that is our luck evening out over the season.

“The League Two table incredible. I have never seen it where all four teams in the play-offs are currently on the same amount of points.

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“We are just a point back from them with a game or two in hand, so it is incredibly tight all the way down to 10th – and even 11th have still got a chance of making the play-offs.

“We should have got at least a point at Tranmere and a point at Port Vale. Just those two points would have put us ahead of the play-off pack.

“We can't do anything about that now, but we have reacted well with the two wins and now we want to get a good result tomorrow to take into the Northampton game on Saturday.”

Clough said it was impossible to guess how the last 10 games would go in such an open division.

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“After the previous seven months I don't think you can try to estimate or guess where you're going to get points from,” he said.

“When we had that run, no way could you say in the next 14 games you're not going to get a win.

“Likewise I don't think anyone could then predict we'd win 19 out of the next 26 in all competitions.

“Of the last 10 games we will take each one as it comes. Each one seems to get harder as well because of the run we're on and playing Saturday/Tuesday.

“It's very important we're fighting for something.

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“A few of them have battled at the other end of the table, but it's a different sort of mentality needed.

“We feel the expectation of the crowd – home or away – and rightly so. We are in the midst of a great run and that should be part of dealing with it.”

He added: “We are playing six out of seven games away – and they're not round the corner either. We don't seem to have many local games in League Two.

“It is a fifth successive away game at Hartlepool and it's tough when you're on the road.

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“No team in the country is better away than they are at home.

“You have to take each game as it comes. With the injuries and illness we have you can't plan too far ahead.

“I read about Sir Alex Ferguson going into the end of the season with his European games, knowing what team he'd play two or three weeks ahead.

“If you have that good a squad you can do that, but it's very difficult when you're carrying as many knocks as we are.”

Stags have worries over half a dozen players for tomorrow.

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“We have had one or two go down with illness over the weekend, then there are a few carrying knocks,” said Clough.

“Matty Longstaff got a whack, Quinny got a whack, Macca's got a whack.

“Five or six of them are a doubt under normal circumstances. Whether we can get them out there tomorrow night or not we will wait and see.”