A couple of new signings already through the door at the One Call Stadium, now Nigel Clough and Mansfield Town have announced their pre-season schedule for the Stags faithful.
Last seasons’ loan striker, Will Swan, has made his move from Nottingham Forest, to Mansfield, a permanent one, and veteran midfielder, Stephen Quinn, has signed a new contract, as has Clough himself, with a new, one-year deal of his own, aiming to get the club to promotion to EFL League One.
Also joining the club are defenders Calum MacDonald, a left-back from Bristol Rovers, and Baily Cargill, a centre-half from Forest Green Rovers as Clough expects a big difference this time around and, in preparation for the new campaign, he’s listed half-a-dozen friendlies, and a training camp north o’ the border.
“I think it will be a completely different atmosphere,” Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham.
“That will be the difference. Having come back with such a short break and having lost the play-off final last year, everyone was on a downer – it was absolutely inevitable. It takes some getting over.”
Following the promotion to EFL League Two, of Wrexham, and Nottinghamshire rivals, Notts County, the pre-season needs to be spot-on if the Stags are to make another push for promotion.
“Already you can see the difference,” Clough continued, the current squad, and new signings, readying to go again.
“A year ago we would have only finished the season for a week, but already we have most of the players in that we want, pre-season is in place and everyone is really looking forward to it.
“Wrexham and Notts County will possibly be two of the stronger Conference [National League] sides coming into the league for quite some years.
“The ones coming down know what it’s all about – Accrington (Stanley) will be as difficult as anybody, Morecambe know what it’s all about and Forest Green (Rovers) romped it 12 months ago or so.
“There could be anything up to 15 or 16 teams that fancy their chances of getting into the top seven.”
There’s only around four weeks until the first pre-season friendly gets underway as well, the Stags looking to hit the ground running when they send, what’s likely to be a strong squad, to Cannon Park, home of last season’s Central Midlands North champions, Retford United (Tuesday 11 July).
Another away day soon follows when Clough’s side travel to National League North side, Alfreton Town (finished fifth last season, Saturday 15 July), followed by a week-long training camp in St. Andrews, Scotland, in the middle of July.
Upon their return to Nottingham there’s another four friendlies lined up before the 2023/23 campaign kicks off, the first being the visit of Championship side, Rotherham United (finished nineteenth, Saturday 22 July), then League One outfit, Barnsley (finished fourth, Tuesday 25 July), are set to visit three days later.
The last two friendlies lined up before the push for promotion begins again, are both on the road, first its National League side, Oldham Athletic (finished twelfth, Saturday 29 July), before wrapping up with a trip to Northern Premier League outfit, Matlock Town, at the beginning of August (please note, opponents, dates, kick-off times, are subject to change – visit here for more information).
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc Stags boss Nigel Clough.