Ex-Mansfield Town star Darrell Clarke tips former club to challenge for top seven
Clarke admitted Vale, who had won six of their previous seven games, were lucky to escape with a draw at a club without a win in 13 outings and said: “Mansfield will finish in the top 10, top seven, mark my words.
“This is a tough place to come. They were one of the favourites for a reason. They've been on a bad run but they will finish top 10.
“They have come back and found their form tonight.
“Full credit to Mansfield – I thought they were outstanding on the night.
“We were nowhere near the standards we've set for the majority of the season, but you have nights like that when you're not quite at it and you need to get something in the bag and we managed to nick a point.”
He added: “Mansfield are in a false position for me. They have got good, talented players and a good, talented manager.
“We have played them at night, the fans have got behind them and we were a little bit fortunate for the point. But we will take it.”
Skipper Tom Conlon scored their only goal with a superb free kick and hit the bar with another.
“He has that individual brilliance and nearly got another one but, to a man, it was probably a four or five out of 10 performance by a lot of my players tonight,” said Clarke.
“But I am not going to be to harsh on them. Their form has been tremendous.
“You just take it on the chin – it's League Two football.
“We have a home game on Saturday and we can turn this into a positive week. You are not going to keep winning and winning and sometimes you've just got to dig in for that ugly point like we did today.”
Clarke also saw keeper Lucas Covolan save a penalty.
“The keeper was asked a question on Saturday and I think he's answered it today,” said Clarke.
“I don't think it was a penalty by any stretch of the imagination, I think it was a soft one. But he has produced the save.
“Maybe we could have held on for the three points but Mansfield were strong second half and it would have been a bit of an injustice.”