Mansfield Town Boss Suggests Coming Days Are As “Tough As Anything”

After a tough away day in London where Mansfield Town lost only their third league game of the season, a 2-1 defeat at AFC Wimbledon, the Stags bounced back in style with a hard-fought win over another promotion rival, Notts County.

Now manager Nigel Clough believes that they are heading into an important week, with a tough away game, and a home clash against a surprise outfit, followed by another away day against a team that could still make a late playoff run.

The win against County showed just how resilient Clough has made his team, after a bruising loss where he and other staff were handed disciplinary charges. It was their first win in five and has set them nicely up for the tough games ahead.

As reported by Chad Sport, Clough has the next trio of games as pivotal to their ambitions for promotion. “The next week will be as tough as anything – the two away games against Forest Green and Walsall plus Harrogate at home.

“I know it’s only nine points at stake but it’s going to be a very important time. Forest Green have had quite a few changes of coaches and so on this season.”

Forest Green is the first in this run of games, this coming Saturday.

“It doesn’t seem that long ago when we played them and they were the outstanding team in League Two, and if there was any team you thought was going to survive it was them.

“Unfortunately they came back down and are struggling at the wrong end again. So I think they made the most sensible appointment they could have done in their situation with Steve Cotterill. I think he will improve their chances.

“It is a potential banana skin without a doubt. They were 2-0 up at Colchester on Saturday and it ended 3-3. With Steve coming in they will have a sense of optimism they haven’t had for a few months that they can stay up. Certainly, they will be looking for a home win on Saturday, irrespective of the opposition.”

Mansfield will of course go into that game as favourites, but next Tuesday evening they host Harrogate Town who are currently just outside the playoff places. “I think almost since our victory there they have done extremely well.

“I thought we probably copped for them on a very below-par evening that night and we played extremely well. But we know from our past two or three seasons how difficult they are.

“They drew at Stockport on Saturday and are unbeaten on the road in quite some time. They signed a couple of good players on deadline day as well, so that will be as tough as anything.”

They round off the week with a trip to Walsall, who still harbour ambitions of a late playoff charge. Clough will be hoping that he has some players returning from a virus that has spread through the training ground which has seen George Maris forced off in the win on Saturday, and Baily Cargill has also been struck down.

On the flip side, he will welcome back Jordan Bowery and Stephen Quinn, who have served their one-game suspension that was enforced after seeing red at Wimbledon.

Writer’s View

Mansfield Town are still very much in the thick of the automatic promotion race. The win against Notts County has proved they are up to the task, and they will feel unlucky not to have grabbed at least a point in the feist affair at Wimbledon.

The three games coming up will throw different challenges their way as each of the opposition is fighting for points for varying reasons. Should they come away from those with maximum points it will have been a huge effort, that will no doubt be the aim for the ever-ambitious Clough.

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