Clough 'has never known anything like it' as Mansfield's 'freakish' injury problems continue ahead of Cobblers clash
and live on Freeview channel 276
In total, 18 players could be missing across both teams this evening, 10 from the Cobblers and eight from Mansfield, although the Stags did benefit from a weekend off after Saturday’s fixture against Leyton Orient was postponed due to the weather.
Nigel Clough’s side are currently outside the play-off places but have up to three games in hand on some of the teams above them.
Providing a lengthy injury update, Clough said: “Christy Pym trained last week so he hopefully will be available. I'm not sure of Elliott Hewitt is going to train this morning (Monday) or not. He's 50/50 at best I would say.
"Callum Johnson is going to be out a few weeks with the calf injury he picked up down at Wimbledon and Rhys Oates is doing a bit of training at the moment. It’s just whether he can sustain any contact really. We’ll take it cautiously with him but he is back in light training. We’ll see how he is this week.
“Louis Reed's coming on well but no return imminent. We’re looking at him running hopefully this week with a view to joining training in the next couple of weeks.
“George Maris can do a certain amount but he just can’t do that final sort of explosive sprinting. We’ll see how he is, it’s almost day-to-day. Stephen McLaughlin is back running and he may well join in some time this week. Will Swan's ankle injury is a huge blow. He’s been to see a specialist and he’s under Forest’s care."
As with Northampton, Mansfield’s injury problems have been persistent all the way through the season.
“The knocks we've had have been contact injuries and almost freakish at times,” Clough added. “There is nothing we can do about them.
“I have never known anything this sustained, having eight or nine out for a number of weeks. So it's credit to the squad that we're still in contention.
“You look at teams that are successful and they maybe make two or three changes but it's usually the same team out most weeks. We would love to be able to do that.”
On tonight’s game, Clough continued: “I think to come back from the disappointment that they had on the last day of last season, and then losing in the play-off semi-finals, speaks volumes of the character and the team.
“It's about the first 30 minutes, staying in the game and battling, and if you get a goal then brilliant. But try not to concede. I don't think it's a bad thing if you can get to 0-0 away from home at half-time. Then the onus is more on the home side to go out and get a goal.”