Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough urges Stags to go for the jugular at rivals Swindon Town

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough is encouraging his team to entertain and go for the jugular at likely promotion rivals Swindon Town on Saturday.

By John Lomas
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 10:25 am
George Maris - a doubt for Saturday with knee injury.
George Maris - a doubt for Saturday with knee injury.

But he knows his players will have to make sure they do the 'dirty side' of the game first.

Stags were pipped 3-2 at home in a thriller to Bradford City last week and Clough said: “We don't want to sit back on 2-1 leads and invite the opposition on.

“We're looking for that third goal. We will keep going forward.

“Swindon are as good a footballing side as there is in the division.

“Along with Forest Green they play a brand of football that's very difficult to deal with in that they are good technically and have good players – probably a League One squad.

“Now they have been taken over and their problems ironed out they are the form team of the league.

“First and foremost we have to stop them playing, then play our own stuff from that point on.

“We want to be easy on the eye but you can't forget about the other side of the game. I thought that's what we did when we went 2-1 up on Saturday.

“We need to get the balance right. We will always create chances.”

Clough was furious at the manner in which he team conceded goals last weekend which allowed Bradford to take all three points.

“My anger has probably subsided by one or two per cent – but that's all at this moment in time,” he said.

“I am bitterly disappointed we lost the game but there were quite a few plusses.

“We won't be changing our approach but we will try to do it better.

“To concede three goals in the manner we did is what causes the anger and disappointment. We know we are better than that. It's down to individuals just doing their jobs better.

“I hope there are good signs in training that they realise the reasons we lost, but they can't put it right until Saturday – if they get the chance to.”

He continued: “I am satisfied with the performances so far in lots of ways – it's ironic our best three performances were Preston, Colchester and in some ways on Saturday (games Stags failed to win).

“We didn't play that well against Bristol Rovers and Newport but we did the things that enable you to win games.

“The four home games we've had been cracking games for the neutral – unfortunately I am not a neutral.

“But we want to entertain. Fans want to be entertained and see you have a go – we want to do that. We want to win but we want to win in a certain way and entertain.”

On squad selection for Swindon, he said: “George Maris took a fair old whack on his knee, so we will see how he is this week.”

Clough's biggest plus last weekend was a brace of goals from towering striker Oli Hawkins.

“He happens to be a tall lad but with the quality of his three goals in three starts, he is proving invaluable,” said Clough.

“We want him to get into more goalscoring positions as the quality of the crosses we are getting in, especially down the left hand side, are excellent.”