Nigel Clough expects taking chances will be key to Notts County v Mansfield Town East Midlands derby

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Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough believes finishing will be the key to success in the eagerly-anticipated derby at Notts County.

Stags boast the best defensive record in League Two but have scored just four times in their last four games.

League leaders Notts have bagged 27 goals already in their first 12 matches.

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“It will probably come down to finishing,” said Clough. “There will be chances within the game because of how both teams played and it will be down to who converts them.

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough expects a game of fine margins against Notts County.Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough expects a game of fine margins against Notts County.
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough expects a game of fine margins against Notts County.

“It will be a game of fine margins. It might be a bit nervy early on. I hope it's a good match for everyone. We will try to play in the same way that we have from the first minute at Crewe.

“Notts pose certain problems to you on the pitch with the way they play, they are very expansive.

“We are going to have to defend extremely well to restrict them. Barrow did that on Saturday but on their home patch they are very strong.

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“We will try to preserve our unbeaten run, but not in a negative way.”

The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports due to top level football taking an international break, with the contest expected to attract a sell-out crowd.

And having played and managed in many hotly-contested derby games with Forest and Derby, Clough knows just what victory would mean to the Stags faithful.

“I went many years ago to watch Mansfield at Notts, probably 15 years ago and they filled the whole end, so I was more than aware from then what it means to the supporters,” he said.

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“What a brilliant crowd it will be for League Two and that's one of the reasons why they are a big club.

“I remember playing against them for Forest in the top league many years ago, that's where they have been as a club.

“I don't speak to anyone in football who wasn't pleased to see Notts back in the league. They have done so well in the last few seasons, won a lot of matches and have momentum.

“It is going to make for an interesting one, it is interesting that it is live on TV and will probably get a little more exposure than it normally would.

“You are always aware that there's that little more riding on derby games and there is more responsibility not to lose the game.

“We are very much aware of what it means to the fans.”