Stags are looking up! Could second half push could see Mansfield Town force way into play-off spots?
Mansfield Town have reached the halfway stage of the League Two season seven points off the play-off spots.
Now manager Nigel Clough is hoping his Stags can continue to climb the table, after transforming them from relegation battlers to a side who have won their last four league contests and – given current form - have ambitions of breaking into the top seven.
“It’s time to sit back and have a think, we’re halfway through the season in terms of league games and let’s get ready for the second half of the season,” said Clough, whose side were left without a fixture at the weekend due to a positive Covid-19 test in the Carlisle United camp.
Clough has seen his team pick up 22 points from 12 League Two matches since replacing Graham Coughlan in the dug-out.
If the Stags had his average of 1.83 points per game throughout the campaign so far they would sit third behind the current top two of Carlisle and Newport County (both 1.85ppg).
Further optimism can come from the fact that the side’s run under Clough has also seen them take 10 points from a possible 15 against top eight sides – beating Forest Green, Cambridge United and Salford City, drawing with Crawley and suffering defeat at Carlisle.
While the weekend’s postponement may have come at a frustrating time for a club in form, Clough was looking to the positives.
He added: “It gives us that 10-day break.
“Normally we’ve played a few more games over the (festive) period, but it gives the likes of Ollie Clarke (knee) and James Perch (illness) those few extra days to make sure they’re ready.”
Town will travel to struggling Southend United on Saturday (KO 3pm) before hosting Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday (KO 7.45pm).
They made it four wins in a row with a 3-2 victory at Oldham Athletic last Wednesday, Harry Charsley, Ryan Sweeney and Jamie Reid netting the crucial goals as Jordan Bowery missed a penalty.
Mal Benning made his 200th appearance for the club at Boundary Park.
Clough said: “Anybody who stays at club in the modern era and plays 200 games shows a large degree of loyalty. It’s a great achievement for him.”