Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough calls on Stags to end the season on a high at Port Vale

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough wants to see his side end the season on a high in Saturday's final League Two game at Port Vale.
Ex-Stag Darrell Clarke, now manager of Port Vale.Ex-Stag Darrell Clarke, now manager of Port Vale.
Ex-Stag Darrell Clarke, now manager of Port Vale.

But he knows it will be a tough game against a Vale side that has been in magnificent form in recent weeks under new boss and ex-Stags star Darrell Clarke and he believes both clubs could be challenging for promotion next season.

“It would be nice to finish on a high,” said Clough.

“In the last three and a half games I think we have played well.

“In the first half of our last away game at Salford we were very good.

“So we want to try to maintain that sort of standard and try to play like we did at home away from home – that's the next stage.

“It shouldn't make too much difference, but it always does. But we want to set out with the same intent of taking the game to the opposition.

“We are trying to get the youngsters on the pitch for some part of games which is good for their experience. It will be a balancing act on Saturday.”

Port Vale's defeat at Grimsby last weekend ended a run of nine games unbeaten.

But Clarke and captain Tom Conlon have been shortlisted for the Sky Bet League Two Manager and Player of the Month for April after five wins and a draw from six April fixtures, keeping five clean sheets and conceding just a single goal.

Clough said: “They struggled initially when Darrell Clarke went in. Then, as is the way in this league, they won six or seven straight on the bounce.

“It just shows it takes a bit of time to get that impact.

“I think they will be one of those teams, similar to ourselves, who will be looking to challenge that top six/top seven next year.

“From the potential of what you see there I think they have got a good chance like ourselves.”

On the injury front, Clough added: “We hope Farrend Rawson should be back training today, Ollie Clarke the same, but whether we risk Farrend on Saturday or not, we'll see how he feels.

“With head injuries I am not inclined to take risks at the best of times, especially when it's last game of the season with relatively nothing to play for.”