In-form Mansfield Town take advantage of blank weekend after hectic spell

With original opponents Hartlepool United in FA Cup action on Saturday, Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough intends to take full advantage of an unexpected blank weekend amid such a busy period for his promotion-chasers.

“We will have a welcome few days which will be nice,” he said.

“The lads will come in for training then have a couple of days off ready for Colchester next week.

“The physical effort is exceptional at the moment. Getting that balance right in terms of training and the rest is absolutely vital in the last 19 games.

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough - Pic Chris Holloway

“The ones who are playing need rest and the ones on the fringes and the subs need to work and will come in and train a bit more.

“The starting XI have been pretty consistent, give or take one or two players, so it's a case of going away for a couple of days, clearing their heads and everything is focused on those last 19 games.

“Yes, your family will always come first. But a very close second are these 19 games.”

Clough admitted his side were not at their best in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw away at Harrogate Town as recent exertions caught up with them.