Gamble is bearing fruit for Nigel Clough, but concerns grow over the exhaustion of Mansfield Town who will field a team at Harrogate Town on Wednesday
But he cast big doubts on Wednesday’s trip to Harrogate Town with more players likely to fall to Covid on a day the virus saw so many games called off elsewhere.
Missing eight players, Stags came back 2-0 to win 3-2 for a 10th victory in 11 games, despite losing George Lapslie, Stephen Quinn, Harry Charsley and Richard Nartey to tests positive.
“It was a bit of a gamble to play today after losing some players, but we thought we had enough with the starting XI to get a result and we needed a game after two weeks without one.” , did he declare.
Exhausted Mansfield Town fights back to win Boxing Day five-goal thriller against …
“We lost three players at lunchtime, and I think if we had said a half-truth or two we could have ended the game. “But we wanted to organize a game for the spectators – it’s Boxing Day.
“We believe all four have had positive tests as well as four injury strikeouts.”
He continued, “We now have a few more showing symptoms and coughing and we will test them in the morning and see where we go.
“We only have 14 fit outfielders and none of the injuries will be back in time for Wednesday.
“We’ll do everything we can to get a team out on Wednesday but, as much as we want to play, if we can’t make the numbers required, we’ll be victims like a lot of teams did today.
“With its spread so quickly, I think it’s inevitable that there will be two or three more.”
On the whole game he said: “I thought from the first five minutes it was a brilliant game and I’m not sure how we managed to lead 1-0, scoring two sloppy goals.
“They didn’t come into our penalty area too often during the game and we should have been ahead before they scored.
“I said at halftime that there was nothing wrong with the overall performance, but we had missed three very good chances in the penalty area and conceded a bad goal.
“But we’ve fallen behind in a few games here over the past few weeks and managed to turn the tide like we did today.
“John-Joe’s (O’Toole) goal gave us the spark and I thought he was excellent today. He deserved the man of the match. He brilliantly anchored the central midfielder.
“Coming back from 2-0 gives everyone a lot of confidence. “
Hartlepool thought they had equalized in stoppage time but were ruled out with an offside flag and Clough added: “Maybe we were a bit lucky at the last minute.
“I haven’t seen him again – the flag is up quite late. But we haven’t had those breaks a few months ago.