LEYTON ORIENT PREVIEWS
Boss asks for hard work to continue
mansfieldtown.net, 26th January 2017
Stags' boss Steve Evans has identified hard work and healthy competition for places as the cornerstones to the team’s recent impressive run.
Mansfield have recorded four victories, two draws and just a solitary defeat in their last seven fixtures across all competitions, and with the new signings already adding sheen to the squad’s depth, the Stags now sit just three points off a play-off spot.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Sky Bet League Two fixture against Leyton Orient, the gaffer has taken time to reflect on recent weeks’ performances and has challenged his players to continue their determined approach.
“The boys have worked hard in preparation for every game, and as we echoed after Saturday in Cambridge, which we won, there were no big scenes; we had won a football match, and we have to get back to working hard again on the training ground," the Stags' boss said.
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“We lost a match [against Wycombe], and there is no secret - we come back and work hard again.
“It is about working hard, preparing properly for the matches, making sure the players are focused, and trying to stay in good competition around the pitch. Nothing makes you play, and should make you play, at a better standard than competition.
“We are starting to get that, and we just need that in three or four more [positions] to get that competition at the top end. But we have come a long way from [17th] in the league to where we are today, and we almost can look up and see those play-offs. Every game is vital, and none more so than Saturday [against Leyton Orient].”
Saturday’s opponents Orient have slipped to three consecutive defeats in January, but the manager believes the O’s will provide a stern test.
“There will certainly be good players coming off the team coach, and a manager (Andy Edwards) who has - dare I say - put that 'British feel' back to the football club.
“I think by evidence and looking at the footage of their recent performances, they are going to be whole-hearted; they have got individuals who can play, and it is going to be a test.”
The 54-year-old has further provided injury updates concerning the Stags’ centre-back pairing of George Taft and Kyle Howkins, who have been out with their respective hamstring and knee injuries.
“We are probably looking at George Taft to be back in full training in the middle of February. So probably three weeks from now, he will be in full training, which is great news.
“We expect Kyle Howkins to be back in training in a fortnight, so that is good news as well. That is two big, strong centre-backs coming back at the right time; and other than that, there are no more knocks to report, and we want to keep it in that shape.”
Finally, the former Leeds United manager has once more highlighted the Stags’ fans’ contribution in creating the right atmosphere for the players at One Call Stadium.
“It is the players on the pitch who get the benefits, because there is nothing better that having a supporter right behind you.
“We are going to need them if we are going to have a run and try and get anywhere near these play-offs. It is not just going to be about the 11 men on the pitch, it is also going to be about the 12th man off it.
“We have been in good form, we have had some really positive results, and this is a formidable wounded animal (Leyton) coming here on Saturday.
“They have one of the best squads on paper in the league. Of course, nothing has ever been won on paper, but they are capable. We have to be ready for the stern challenge they bring, and nothing will help us better than the 12th man.”
Supporters can view the manager's news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.
Big crowd can make the difference against Orient believes Stags boss
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans believes a big home crowd can make all the difference when struggling Leyton Orient are the visitors on Saturday.
Stags chairman John Radford has laid on an offer of two matches for the price of one this weekend with fans buying a ticket for the Orient game getting a free one for the visit of Hartlepool United on February 11th.
Evans is looking forward to the increased noise levels, saying: “It is fantastic for the players, though as a head coach or a manager on the sidelines it makes no difference.
“I have been very fortunate that there’s been 60,000-70,000 there some games. There was 30,000 there regularly at Elland Road. From a manager/head coach perspective it just makes you feel good as a lot of them are your own supporters.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/big-crowd-can-make-the-difference-against-orient-believes-stags-boss-1-8355418
“But it’s the players on the pitch that get the benefit. There’s nothing better than a support right behind you.
“Of course I have come to the One Call Stadium as an opposition manager and, forgetting the banter aimed at me, when the Stags fans get behind their team it’s great.”
He added: “We are going to need them. If we are going to have a run and try to get into these play-offs, it’s not just going to be about the 11 men on the pitch.
“It’s going to be about the 12th man off it and we have an opportunity to demonstrate on Saturday.”
Stags are five unbeaten in League Two after last weekend’s impressive 3-1 win at Cambridge. But Evans warned they will not take the ailing visitors lightly.
“In the League we’ve been in good form, we’ve had some really good, positive results,” he said. “But this is a formidable wounded animal coming here on Saturday.
“They have one of the best squads on paper in the league.
“Nothing, of course, has ever been won on paper - but they are capable. We need to be ready for the stern challenge that brings and nothing will help us better than our 12th man.”
Andy Edwards, who had a two-game spell as caretaker manager earlier in the season, has been put in charge until the end of the current campaign after Alberto Cavasin became the eighth manager to be sacked at the club since it was bought by Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti in the summer of 2014. “They have good players and a manager that, dare I say it, has brought that British feel to the football club,” said Evans.
“I don’t know if I am allowed to say that but I’m going to say it. It is a British feel that has come back to a football club that needed it.
“Looking at the footage of their recent performances, the evidence is they’ve gone up a notch for that manager.
“They will come here and be whole-hearted and they have individuals who can play.
“It is going to be a test but we know the rewards for ourselves as, if other results go our way, we could be bouncing into that top eight or nine.”
Evans added: “We are only going to get stronger as we go forward as this is still a new team really. It is a team that has only been assembled for three or four weeks. “If we are looking to add a few players to it before the window closes, it will be a team that in its evolution over the next 12 weeks will only get better.”
Benning enjoying education under Stags' boss
mansfieldtown.net, 26th January 2017
Stags’ left-back Mal Benning says he is relishing life under boss Steve Evans since the Glaswegian took the reins in November last year.
The 23-year-old has become a fan-favourite at One Call Stadium with over 60 appearances since his arrival at the beginning of last season.
As he continues to work under new manager Steve Evans, Benning says the change in boss has meant a different perspective on the game, and it’s one that he’s enjoying.
“It has been a good change. Obviously the philosophy is a bit different, so we have to adapt to that.,” Benning said.
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“But it is the first time for me that this scenario has happened, so it has been a good experience for me and I am learning from it.
“Everyone gets along in the dressing room and it is a tightly-knit group. But in training, there is a bit more passing going on - we are trying to play a bit more in getting out [of defence], with the gaffer trying to get his philosophy through.
“He wants us to dominate games, and try and play a bit more. Instead of trying to find that killer pass with the first ball, he wants us to build up play though the midfield and going around it that way.”
Evaluating his personal journey through the campaign thus far, the ex-Walsall full-back says he is focussed on continuing to keep his place in the team as competition for a starting berth hots up.
“I think I have been alright. I have had some poor games, but I have had some good games as well.
“But the main focus is to keep my place in the team really; as we know there is a lot competition now [with the new signings] - there are a lot of bodies in the building. So you need to put in a performance to keep your place.”
The Stags have already made six confirmed signings this month, all of whom have made an instant impact in their respective debuts.
And Benning agreed that this has upped the intensity and the focus of the group to maintain high standards.
“As you know you cannot lack too much because if you do, then you are coming out of the team and you could be in a scenario where you are in the stands.
“So, you have always got that pressure. But obviously this will help bring the best out of you and hopefully keep you sharp.”
Shifting focus to this weekend’s Sky Bet League Two fixture against Leyton Orient, Benning refused to look too much into the two sides’ contrasting run of form.
“Anyone can beat anyone in this league, as many results have already proven.
“It is one of those [games] where we just focus on ourselves really, and with [us sitting] just three points off the play-offs, we need to keep focus and take each game as it comes and hopefully climb the table.
“I think they (Leyton Orient) are a good team. Whenever we play them, I know it is going to be a tough test. So we will be expecting that.”
Supporters can view Mal Benning’s full news conference on Stags PlayerHD.
Latest | January 2017