‘Winning mentality’ is one thing that Mansfield Town strived for under their last Manager without success but things seem different these days under a new man at the helm who has delivered four wins from six games with an exciting evening ahead that includes a velvet bag and some luck of the balls on terrestrial television tonight.
Mansfield are through to the third round of the FA Cup where they could be drawn against the likes of Manchester United, holders Arsenal, champions Liverpool, or even those from down the A60, Nottingham Forest, as they aim to go one step further under a Manager who knows the competition well.
Nigel has played in a final, he’s managed in a semi-final, he’s been to Wembley both old and new and he knows better than anyone what it’s like to score goals in the famous old competition, a man who credited striker Nicky Maynard for his late late winner yesterday, a victory against Dagenham in the last minute of extra time that eventually saw the Stags through to a potential tie against the ‘big boys’.
“People think that was an easy chance at the end, but when it’s bobbling and it’s spinning, and it’s the last kick of the game, then it’s a difficult finish.”
“It doesn’t matter how you win sometimes, it’s just wonderful to win the match.”
The man of the moment, Maynard, feels like a new player under Clough, the experienced striker firing in the goals said yesterday “The gaffer has come in and fair play to Coops and his staff too, they’ve just given confidence to the lads.”
“I feel as though I’m a confidence player and they’ve just put belief in me. I’m thankful for the gaffer for doing that, since he’s been here I’ve played every minute and he’s shown faith in me.”
“I feel a lot more confident now and I think it shows with the rest of the lads. I feel like we’ve been a lot better since the gaffer’s come in; hopefully with this win we can kick on with the season.”
Of the win, Clough stated of his side “I thought we deserved it.” He continued “We created enough chances to win two or three games today. The fact that we didn’t score until the 120th minute, that’s the frustrating thing.”
“We just need one of the strikers to start putting them away, and Nicky Maynard probably remains the most composed finisher we’ve got with his experience.”
He furthered “I hope, confidence-wise, that will do us good. We’ve had a couple of wins in the last few games and when you’ve not won for six to eight months, every win is a big one.”
Looking forward to the third round draw Maynard will be watching alongside his team-mates later this evening on BBC ONE from 7pm saying “Everyone wants to get through to the third round with all the big teams coming in.”
“It’s a good chance to showcase your talent, especially with the better teams, it’s just a bit disappointing there won’t be any fans to support us and do something for them because it would be a great day out for them.”
Of the clubs Maynard would like to face he said “Manchester United would be my ideal draw – at Old Trafford – but we don’t know how that would go. “
“It’s a good day out so I’d take anyone. We’ll take it game by game but United would be the one for me.”
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc Nigel Clough interviewed after his sides late win in the cup.