Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough admits tomorrow’s clash with Carlisle United is a “big game” for his side’s promotion ambitions.

The Stags visit Brunton Park on Easter Monday for a game the Cumbrians hope will see League Two safety secured.

At the other end of the table, sixth-placed Mansfield are hoping to further their bid for success.

Their promotion push was checked by a 3-2 home defeat to Sutton United on Good Friday, when ex-Blues man Richie Bennett hit the winner.

News and Star: Newcastle loanee Matty Longstaff scored in Mansfield's Good Friday defeat to SuttonNewcastle loanee Matty Longstaff scored in Mansfield's Good Friday defeat to Sutton

Clough says their clash with Paul Simpson’s Blues must see obvious improvement.

“We were looking at four points, or six if we could over Easter – now we have a chance of getting three, so it makes it a very big game at Carlisle,” the Stags manager said.

“I don’t want us to give schoolboy goals away like we did [on Friday].

“We haven’t done that in the last few months. Teams have had to work very hard to create chances and score goals against us, but they didn’t [on Friday].

“Other teams are getting 1-0s, 2-0s, keeping clean sheets – that should be our priority at Carlisle.”

News and Star: Stephen Quinn is a key man for the promotion-chasing StagsStephen Quinn is a key man for the promotion-chasing Stags

Mansfield, after a slow start to the season, surged into the promotion picture with impressive form through autumn and winter.

They now sit six points outside the automatic places with five games left to play, and have a three-point cushion inside the play-off zone.

Clough said Stephen McLaughlin, who hit the winner against United in the clubs’ meeting at the One Call Stadium in December, may not figure tomorrow after a recent injury.

Rhys Oates is set to miss out again.

The Stags boss added in a club interview: “We haven’t had errors in the run we’ve had, which is why we had such an incredible run, especially at home.

“You’ve got to move on. You have to put mistakes behind you.”

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