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Developing a stronger identity

Clark looking to build momentum against Mansfield

19 August 2017

Simon Clark is hoping his side can take the momentum of the past week into their clash against Mansfield Town today (11am kick-off).

The young Magpies got their first win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Oldham Athletic last Saturday before beating Derby County 2-1 in a friendly in midweek.

And the lead professional development phase coach was pleased with what he saw from his side against the Rams.

"It was a really good game," he said. "They had a strong side out, including a player who has been involved for the first team and some under 23s, so it was a different test for us.

"We went 1-0 down but equalised not long after through Alex Howes. At half-time we came off having dominated good sections of the match and we were in a good state.

"We lost our way for about a quarter of an hour after the break, turning the ball over a lot, but we kept going and grew into the game.

"We made a couple of substitutions, tweaked a few things and ended up winning it late on with a lovely left-footed effort from outside the area by Louis Robinson.

"Looking at the game we probably just about shaded it and deserved it based on our first-half performance. It was great to play against a Category One academy and a team which was so technically proficient.

"Overall the intensity of our play, the way we pressed and what we did with the ball was really positive."

Now the focus switches to the Stags, who finished top of the league last season, and Clark wants to see the positivity from training carry over into the match.

He said: "We will get pressed hard and they are quite direct so I have told the players we have to impose ourselves. We have to do well off the ball and on turnovers because if we don't we'll be facing our own goal very quickly.

"We've had our best training week so far, putting movement patterns together as a cohesive unit from back to front.

"The players played a small, six-sided match at the end of training and I told them afterwards that today's team would easily beat the team of six weeks ago because we move the ball better, have better movement and look a lot cleaner in our touch and our passing.

"We move up the pitch quicker but still retain control which is really pleasing.

"The players have a buzz about them. They are enjoying getting on the ball. Things are starting to grow and we are developing a stronger identity.

"We have looked bright so hopefully we can take it into tomorrow's game."

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