GRAHAM Coughlan is one of 16 managers to have been in charge of Mansfield Town since they were last in the third tier but he believes his successor Nigel Clough will finally get the job done this season.

Newport County AFC are huge underdogs at Field Mill tomorrow afternoon against a Stags side that have started the League Two season with a 16-game unbeaten streak, albeit they have had to settle for eight draws.

This is the 11th season that Mansfield have spent in the fourth tier since being promoted from the National League, while the last time they played in what is now League One was the 2002/3 campaign.

Mansfield are often tipped to be in the mix for promotion but lost in the 2022 play-off final then narrowly missed out on the top seven last season.

Coughlan, who was at the helm in Nottinghamshire between December 2019 and October 2020, believes his former side are looking good for automatic promotion this time around.

South Wales Argus: Mansfield boss Nigel CloughMansfield boss Nigel Clough (Image: Press Association)

“Mansfield will be one of the three at the end of the season, in my opinion,” said the Exiles boss.

“Nigel has done a great job, they have been trying for a few years and this might just be their year.

“We had two really good battles with them last year and they have high intensity, they are experienced and are a tough team.

“They have players who have played in the Championship recently and they have strength in depth, so it will be a huge challenge. We will have to be at our best to get anything out of Mansfield.

“They are an experienced team and their system seems to suit their players. They are mobile, big, strong, intense, are tidy with the ball but can also scrap.

"Nigel has put together a really good squad over a two or three-year period, and he knows his way around the division.”

County did, however, leave Field Mill with a hard-earned point in Coughlan’s second game in charge last October.

The Stags have been impressive this season but 50 per cent of their league opponents have finished the game with something to show for their efforts.

South Wales Argus: Omar Bogle was dragged down by James Perch in Mansfield last season, leading to a red cardOmar Bogle was dragged down by James Perch in Mansfield last season, leading to a red card (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“Last year we picked up a 0-0 draw and it was probably a game that we should have won,” said the manager.

“You never know but you need luck, your goalie and the rest of the team to play well, a couple of decisions to go your way and for Mansfield to be slightly off it.

“All I can ask is for our players to roll their sleeves up and give it their all, then if a couple of those elements fall in our favour you never know.

“It’s a massive task but no task is impossible, we wouldn’t be getting on the bus and going up the road if we didn’t believe we could take something back with us.

“Go and enjoy it, go and compete against one of the big boys of the division and against players that played Championship football last year. It’s a benchmark against one of the best in the division.”