Sky Bet League Two, Saturday 23rd October 2021
The problem with inflating your expectations like Clough’s men did after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Port Vale, is that it hurt far more when they failed to meet them yesterday, squandering a one goal lead at Exeter City yesterday.
The Stags were vastly improved in midweek but failed to match the standard and again were left cursing their luck as Jordan Bowery missed a golden chance at 1-0 up – a miss which would go on to be a game changer.
It’s difficult to convey how I feel right now – as we’ve been down this road before. I guess it comes down to one question, should Nigel Clough continue as Stags manager?
The simple answer is yes. How long for though is another question entirely because it’s clear to many that something isn’t right, both in the dressing room and out on the pitch. For me, sorting one, will then sort the other.
Clough has a way of managing sides which has been successful and given time here will be successful, he’s been dealt a bad hand in the squad he inherited and with the bizarre injury situation which is why some leeway is given but personally, I don’t think he’s helping himself with his slating of players, especially the younger ones, after a game.
Emotions are high, yes, and I do get the logic of challenging a player publically – the old “stick the review on the dressing room wall” motivation process, but football has changed massively and I think now, that way of doing things will only land once out of ten, rather than nine times.
We are supposed to be a squad of players after all – not just an 11 with individuals who will play when there’s literally nobody else.
If Clough has a problem with playing two young full backs and thinks they aren’t good enough – then change the system, play three at the back, he knew Tuesday/Wednesday that Hewitt and McLaughlin were likely to be out – so work on changing it, who knows – it may have been the change we needed.
Anyway, in more positive news – the short term signing of John-Joe O’Toole is pleasing – he’s exactly the sort of player we need, capable of playing both in midfield which despite being dubbed the best in league two, seems to still be on furlough, or at centre back which doesn’t really need explaining does it?!
I’ve seen a few comments RE not signing him sooner, Clough said a few weeks ago that there wasn’t anyone out there – and that was true, because as the Stags boss said post-match, he’s been training with two other league two clubs, meaning at the time, wouldn’t have been as approachable.
Hopefully we see him in action next weekend, rather than just being another body. We need a victory, we need this tension to die and to breathe again – our league position and form is a major concern and I for one, do not want to see us go down the same road of having to pay off a manager and his staff, to appoint someone else, give them a budget etc only to be here again in a years’ time, it’s not the answer.
STAGS: Bishop, J. Clarke, Rawson, Hawkins, Burke, O. Clarke, Charsley, Quinn, Lapslie (Johnson 85’), Oates (Sinclair 87’), Bowery (Bowery 63’) UNUSED SUBS: Shelvey, Forrester, Law, O'Toole
Attendance: 4,329 (191)
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