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Club News

The inside track on Mansfield Town

2 September 2022

Club News

The inside track on Mansfield Town

2 September 2022

Rovers are looking to continue their unbeaten start to the Sky Bet League Two season when they take on Mansfield Town this weekend.

Gary McSheffrey’s side beat Northampton Town 1-0 last time out thanks to a second half penalty from George Miller at Sixfields.

Here we provide all the details on our latest opponents.

Manager

The experienced Nigel Clough took over as Mansfield manager in November 2020, six months after his second spell in charge of Sky Bet League One side Burton Albion came to an end.

Clough was initially named player-manager at Burton in 1998, when they were plying their trade in the Southern Football League Premier Division. By the time he left the Pirelli in 2006, he had guided the Brewers to the top of the National League, some 13 points clear of the chasing pack when he decided to make the move to Derby County, who were in the Championship at the time.

The former Nottingham Forest player spent almost five years at Pride Park, before a two-year spell at Sheffield United followed. During his time at Bramall Lane, he helped the Blades reach the semi-finals of both the Emirates FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. He departed in May 2018 to return to Burton.

Since taking over as Mansfield boss, Clough has steadily built an experienced side. Having finished 16th in his first campaign at the One Call Stadium, the Stags reached the League Two play-off final last season, only to be beaten 3-0 by Port Vale at Wembley.

Early season form

Mansfield have had a mixed start to the season, having won all of their home league games but losing all three on the road.

Their campaign began with a 2-0 defeat at Salford City at the end of July, before they got up and running with a 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers a week later. Clough’s side were then narrowly beaten by Leyton Orient, before picking up consecutive home wins against AFC Wimbledon and Stockport County.

Their last outing was a 2-1 defeat at Sutton United, despite Oli Hawkins pulling the Stags level 15 minutes from time.

Key men

Stephen McLaughlin joined Mansfield in the summer of 2020 from Southend United. The Irishman first made the move to England in 2003 to sign for Nottingham Forest from Derry City.  During his time at the City Ground, McLaughlin spent time out on loan with Notts County and Southend, before making the move to Roots Hall permanent in 2015.

Capable of playing at left back or on the wing, he spent five seasons with the Shrimpers, making 177 appearances before moving to the One Call Stadium.

The 32-year-old has established himself as a key player for Nigel Clough’s side, and is now approaching 100 appearances for the club.

George Lapslie joined Mansfield in January 2021 after spending all of his career prior to that at Charlton Athletic. Having come through the ranks at the Valley, the midfielder scored on his debut for the Addicks in an EFL Trophy tie at Crewe Alexandra in 2017.

He would go on to make 56 appearances for Charlton, before a loan move to Mansfield was made permanent. He has added goals to his game since the move north, including two against Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup second round tie at the Eco-Power Stadium last season. He is up and running in front of goal this season as well having struck twice.

Oli Hawkins joined Mansfield from Ipswich Town last summer. Equally as comfortable at centre-back or as a striker, Hawkins made his name in an 18-month spell with Dagenham and Redbridge 19 league goals in 43 starts. 

That persuaded Portsmouth to take him to Fratton Park in 2017 after their promotion to Sky Bet League One. He spent three years on the south coast, making 96 appearances before signing for Ipswich.

He spent just one season at Portman Road though and was key for Mansfield in his first campaign at the club, scoring eight goals.

Last league meeting

Rovers beat Mansfield 1-0 to seal promotion back to Sky Bet League One when the two sides last met in the league in April 2017.

Tommy Rowe’s header from James Coppinger’s corner 16 minutes from time secured the win at the Eco-Power Stadium.

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