Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough targets away win to stay with the promotion pack

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough believes a victory is vital in the next two ultra-tough away games to keep pace with the promotion pack.

Thursday, 17th February 2022, 9:29 am
Nigel Clough and Andy Garner at Bristol Rovers last Saturday.
Nigel Clough and Andy Garner at Bristol Rovers last Saturday.

Stags continue their run of three successive away matches with a huge game at promotion rivals Newport County on Saturday before a trip to managerless Bradford City.

“We want a win from one of the next two. That's how you have to look at it,” said Clough after last weekend's game at Bristol Rovers ended 0-0 but Stags extended their unbeaten run to 11.

“I think the next two going into the Exeter game at home are very important for us.

“The Exeter game is a huge one as they are right up there and it's one of very few home games we've got.

“If we could go into it still unbeaten that would be great, but I think we need to win one of the two if we want to maintain our place.”

Promotion rivals Newport were held 3-3 at home by struggling Oldham last week and have suddenly only picked up one point in nine, the Exiles one point and one place behind Stags in the top seven but having played two games more.

“I've not been to Newport for a few years,” said Clough.

“The pitch is very good I've heard. We won't pay too much attention to what happened against Oldham. I just want to see us physically back on it.

“That's what it's like at this time of the season, teams like Scunthorpe and Oldham will start picking points up at the bottom as it's almost like a nothing to lose situation for them.

“Since John Sheridan's gone back in Oldham have won two and drawn one.

“We had someone at the game who said Oldham had a right go at them.

“That's the strength of the league as well. You think it's a home banker but it doesn't work out like that.

“Teams are picking up and you've seen some very strange results in the last month or two.

“It happens in football, even in the Premier League, at this time of the season. You have these little blips.

“What we don't want to do is go on a losing little run. That's why, when we're not at our best, picking up a point at somewhere like Bristol Rovers on Saturday is important.

“It wasn't our intention – we went there to win it. But it's certainly better than losing.”

He added: “Newport is never an easy place to go.

“One of the reasons they've had such a good cup record when people play there is it's an uncomfortable place to go and play football, especially when you're from a higher division as a lot of teams have found in recent seasons.

“They've had a change of manager early this season and everything has settled down.

“Despite a couple of hiccups in recent games they are certainly one of the best sides in the league.”

The Exiles also boast League two top scorer Dom Telford, with 22 goals in all competitions.

“How we deal with Dom Telford will be key,” said Clough.

“I think he will test our defensive resolve. We've only conceded that one goal in the last four games now from a free kick. He will give us as stern a test as anybody.”

Saturday is a second long away trip in a row and Clough said: “With so many hours on the bus it's important we let the lads rest.

“But when we do train it's intense. It's important we keep up that level.”