The Stags will start the game with a narrow advantage after beating Cobblers 2-1 at Field Mill on Saturday evening, but Clough was not entirely happy with his side’s performance in that match and wants to see an improvement tomorrow night, particularly in an attacking sense.
“It was a good result, not so good a performance,” said Clough. “We’d have liked to have kept a clean sheet.
“I thought we were a little bit unlucky to concede, we were very close to getting a block in on the goal we conceded, but it was probably a fair result on the evening.
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“If we didn't know before we now know what Northampton are about and the way that they can play and put you under pressure.
"We have something to hang on to. You can see with the way they play, they are going to put you under pressure and put a lot of balls into the penalty area. We are going to have to defend well to protect it and certainly play better than we did going forward."
But Clough has also warned his side against falling into the trap of sitting too deep, too early in the game and trying to protect their lead.
"Obviously we don’t want to concede,” he added. “I think that the first sort of 15 minutes of the game will be crucial.
“We like to take the game to teams on any given day, so we’ll be trying to do the same on Wednesday.
“Their style of football difficult to play against. That's why they were a few minutes away from getting automatic promotion.
“They are a good team with a lot of League One players from last season when they came down. It's going to be an interesting game on Wednesday night.”