Promotion challenge is one Mansfield Town will relish, according to Nigel Clough

Nigel Clough says Mansfield Town should embrace the challenge in front of them as they seek promotion from League Two.

By Mark Duffy
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 2:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 2:44 pm

Stags have 12 games left in which to secure at least a play-off spot, beginning with tonight’s trip to face Rochdale.

And rather than see it as a mountain to climb, Clough is instead determined his players aren’t frightened of what’s to come, particularly given the progress made since the turn of the year.

Speaking before the Rochdale game, he said: “I wouldn’t say this is one of the toughest challenges I’ve faced. Fighting at the other end of the table is much, much tougher.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough and first team coach Andy Garner during the match at Bristol Rovers last month.

"Going for the top seven and a play-off spot, from where we’ve come from three months ago, is a nice challenge and a nice sort of thing to embrace and relish and not to be frightened of.

“It’s in our own hands. What we’ve got to do is put the two defeats away [against Tranmere and Port Vale] – and I think in a way having last weekend free will help do as at certain times of the season you’ve got to clear your heads whether you’re unbeaten or have lost a few games. It’s almost starting again.

“Whatever has happened in the previous 34/35 games is irrelevant now, it counts for absolutely nothing. All that matters are the remaining matches. There’s a reason they call it the business end of the season.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think we’ve got a good squad – I wish we were playing more at home but in the next three we’ve got to raise it and have got to get something and get back into that top seven.

Jamie Murphy takes on a Port Vale defender during last week's encounter which Stags lost 3-1.

“We should have a spring in our step given the position we were in. We keep reminding the lads that we were second from bottom just three months ago and people said it was going to be another relegation battle but all of a sudden we’re battling for the top seven. It’s brilliant.”

Clough added the fact many of the remaining games are away from home won’t change Stags’ approach, saying: “We’re a positive team. The two recent away defeats were almost identical stats-wise, so we’re up against it in terms of being on the road but we try and play the same way.”