Bottom club Scunthorpe United clash is a potential banana skin for Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town are aware of the potential banana skin bottom club Scunthorpe United pose in Saturday's clash at the One Call Stadium now Keith Hill has taken charge as the new manager.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 2:51 pm
Keith Hill - massive task as new boss of bottom side Scunthorpe United.

After a 1-0 FA Cup defeat in his opening game, following Neil Cox's sacking, Hill led them to a decent 1-1 home draw with Salford City last weekend.

Despite four win on the bounce, Stags boss Nigel Clough said they would take nothing for granted.

“I don't think we have been that good that we would get carried away,” he said.

“We got the victory at Stevenage but it's not as if we've not been winning three and four nil.

“We know how hard we're having to work for our points and it will be no different on Saturday.

“They have had a change of manager which will have an effect. Keith has been there two or three weeks now working with them.

“It will start having an impact and they had a good draw at home to Salford last week. I am sure they will see us as a game they can get something from.”

He added: “I was very disappointed Neil Cox left as I thought he did a magnificent job keeping them up last season against the odds. He should probably have been given more time.

“But we saw after Saturday, Alex Revell leaving Stevenage, which I thought was even harsher.

“I saw a good Stevenage side on Saturday who, bar the width of the post, they would have got a point or maybe all three on Saturday.”

“They had a good finish to last season then lost their best player, midfielder Tom Pett, who is now running the show for Port Vale, and I saw a good team working their socks off for their manager on Saturday.

“They lost an awful lot of players last summer and it's very difficult to replace that amount.

“Looking from the outside I think some things were maybe cut back a little bit. So a team that already had a tough season last season were not able to replace players that went in the summer.”

Clough said Stags needed to start well against Scunthorpe and ride the wave of confidence that comes from winning games.

“You get that little edge in games that go from losing to drawing and drawing to winning,” he said.

“Saturday will be about us being on the front foot like were against Port Vale and Tranmere to a certain degree.

“It's all about the experienced players. I thought Stephen Quinn was very good at Stevenage on Saturday as was John-Joe O'Toole. They were probably the pick of our players and both over 30 years old.

“They get you through games like Saturday where you're under the cosh at times.

“We realise we got away with a couple when Reidy hit the post, then you get a talented midfielder like Ryan Stirk who comes on and put the winner in.

“But it's about the mix and the variety. You need the experienced players but you also need the young players like Ryan Stirk with that ability.”

Visiting Scunthorpe have not won in four and only once in 14, have the worst goal difference, are on one of the lowest budgets and are operating under a transfer embargo.

Their chairman Peter Swann has also sacked eight managers in as many years.

But the bottom two are both still only one point adrift of safety with everything to play for.

The Stevenage win brought Stags' first away league victory of the season, and Clough added: “It's taken too long to get to that point – mid-November. We should have achieved that before now.

“You think how well we finished last season with a victory at Port Vale on the last day, it should not have taken us this long.

“Like getting that win against Tranmere, everyone is a bit nervous and so desperate to get the win, as we were on Saturday. I think that probably took away a little bit from our performance.

“We played with an awful lot of endeavour and work rate, but there wasn't a lot of thought applied to that. Hopefully that will come when we settle down and get some more victories.”