Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has lauded his squad’s resilience after a comprehensive 3-0 away victory at Accrington Stanley saw The Stags climb into the automatic positions whilst remaining the only EFL side undefeated in all competitions.
The Nottinghamshire outfit have enjoyed a wonderful start to the new season, with three wins and four draws in League two whilst also progressing to the third round of the Carabao Cup after victories over Grimsby Town and Sheffield Wednesday.
In Clough’s third full season with the club, the squad will be targeting promotion after Wembley heartbreak against Port Vale two seasons ago before narrowly missing out on a play-off position on the final day last season.
The former Burton Albion boss has also faced an injury crisis in the early moments of the season, with 2022-23’s Player of the Season Elliot Hewitt facing a lengthy period on the sidelines. Other names to face a period on the sidelines include Rhys Oates, Stephen Quinn and Alfie Kilgour.
Despite this, Clough’s side are the only club in the EFL yet to taste defeat across all competitions. Their resilience is further exemplified by their record from behind, in which the Nottinghamshire outfit have won five points from losing positions – the second best record in the division.
The Stags boss has praised his side for the fight shown by his squad throughout this unbeaten run, despite injuries piling up.
What has been said?
In an interview with Mansfield Town’s official website, Clough stated:
“It (the impressive start) means that we’ve got an element of resilience about us because we’ve gone behind in a few of those games, come back, and either got draws or wins.
“That’s a good sign.
“It also says it’s very, very early days, seven league games and a couple of cup games.
“I think it (the unbeaten record) will be tested on Saturday at Colchester as much as in any game so far.”
Saturday’s impressive win at Accrington was the their first on their travels this season, after previously picking up a point in their visits to Crewe Alexandra, Doncaster Rovers and Grimsby Town.
“It was important to get that first away win,” Nigel said.
“(It was) Probably not our best performance on the road.
“Elements of the performance we have to improve upon but (it was) good to get that first away win and get us into the top three.
“I don’t think we had the control in the game that we’ve had in previous ones away from home, probably down to the way Accrington stopped us as well.
“We didn’t play early enough and simple enough and the few times that we did; we saw some good moves and we created some chances.
“The goals, obviously, make it a standout result – the manner of the goals with two bits of individual brilliance and then a good team goal in between.”
The 57-year-old then provided the latest on the club’s ongoing injury crisis.
“After Saturday there was four (knocks) mainly.
“Calum Macdonald, a reoccurrence of the ankle injury. He got another whack on it on Saturday (so) I don’t think he’ll be doing much training this week.
“We’ll see how he is towards the weekend.
“Jordan Bowery felt his groin late on. He won’t train either until later in the week.
“Ollie Clarke took a whack with a late tackle and the referee played a very good advantage and we got a good chance from it, but he took a whack on the shin.
“Probably the worst out of the four of them is George Maris who. When he got booked, injured himself in the incident.
“He’s caught his knee and so we’ll probably need a scan on that, we’re not sure on that one yet.”
Having seen them myself this season, Mansfield are an impressive, hard-working side and comfortably the best footballing team I have seen in the opening stages of the campaign – this is even further credible in the context of the injuries the squad and manager have had to cope with.
Having been amongst the promotion mix for many years in the division now, the question remains as to whether they can maintain the levels shown so far this season and finally get over the line.