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Archived News from February 2017

EVANS ON SQUAD, HOWKINS/TAFT
13th February 2017 18:39



Boss looking forward to meeting fans at 'An Evening with'
mansfieldtown.net, 6th February 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans says he is excited to share his thoughts and tell some stories at ‘An Evening with Steve Evans’ which will take place later this month.

The manager will take to the stage in the 1861 Suite at One Call Stadium on Monday 20 February (7.30pm start) for the exclusive Q&A evening, which is free to attend for all supporters.

And the Stags’ chief says he relishes opportunities to share opinions with the club’s fans and is looking forward to meeting some of the Stags’ faithful.

“The precious people to all of us are the supporters, they’re the lifeblood of any club. It’s good to go along and have a beer or two and share an evening with them and a few stories and open up on a few things.

“That will include the direction of the team; they’ll want to know the direction of the team and the players etc. It’s an evening we look forward to, we can’t give enough back to the supporters.

http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/duo-of-home-games-vital-to-success-boss-3560141.aspx

“I’ve done a number of community visits recently with Mark Stevenson [head of media and communications] to hospitals and, dare I say it, to meet some of the elderly and things like that, and the ill.

“We keep doing our bit and if we give a fraction of our time, and that’s in reality what we give, then it means so much to people and we want to be part of that.

“I think wherever I’ve been - Crawley, Rotherham, Leeds - I’ve always made it clear that I want to speak to supporters. I want to get opinions, some are not always complimentary, but you want to get opinions. You want to be part of a city and part of a town and you want to live and breathe it.”

As the season moves into its final third, the gaffer says now is the time to remain calm under pressure as teams look to sustain their promotion challenge.

“We’ve got a good dressing room, that’s absolutely paramount in any stage of the season but more importantly as you get in to February and March. This is the business end of the season and probably two or three weeks down the line it’ll be ‘squeaky bum time’.

“I know at first hand that some of the people in the shake-up at the minute don’t handle squeaky bum time well, they go to pieces and do different things.

“My job is to make sure that we can handle it, as a group, not as individuals because it’s always about the group and fortunately, we’ve got some big characters in that dressing room. [We’ve got] probably seven or eight big characters that will ensure that happens.”

The boss named a very strong bench for Saturday’s victory over Barnet and the former Leeds United manager says the competition for places enhances the players’ performances.

“You look over [at the bench] and you just seen an array of talent. You see the likes of Matt Green sitting there, Yoann Arquin sitting there, [James] Baxendale sitting there, [Alfie] Potter sitting there, [Alex] MacDonald sitting there, [Scott] Shearer sitting there.

“It really is a fight for your shirts and if you can get that in your dressing room and you can get intensity in your play and a real focus, then it normally, at the level we’re at, produces a winning team.”

Defenders George Taft and Kyle Howkins are this week stepping up their training regimes following their respective injuries and the boss hopes to have them both in contention for a place in the matchday squad in the next couple of weeks.

“Young Howkins will play in a game this week, so he’s a bit further forward than George. George will really be back and up to full speed next Monday; he’s back in the group today for quite a bit of it but he’ll need a week of intense training before he goes right into the group.

“I just want competition to be in the team and competition to be on the bench.

“Kyle will play a game for West Brom, for the [under 23s]. And the reason I’ve chosen that - I had the choice from Tony Pulis to do either [that or our under 21s vs Hartlepool], but the reason I’ve chosen that one is because he’s going to play against a better opposition than Hartlepool reserves, it’s as simple as that.”

Supporters can log in to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s news conference, in full.

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Stags pair pledge to stay and fight for a shirt after loan offer
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Monday 06 February 2017

No more of Mansfield Town’s senior players will now be heading out on loan.

Manager Steve Evans said last week that he had offered three fringe players the chance to go out and play more football than they may get under his current pecking order at the club.

Young midfielder Jack Thomas took the opportunity to link back up with former boss Paul Cox as National League Barrow for the rest of the campaign.

But Evans said today the other two had elected to stay and fight for a shirt.

“The players came back in and said if I see a way that they could fight and get in the team they wanted to stay,” he said.

“Both of them said that to me individually, not jointly. And of course I can see a way as I don’t pick a team further ahead than the next game.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-pair-pledge-to-stay-and-fight-for-a-shirt-after-loan-offers-1-8374510

“I am not going to think of my team for Accrington before we’ve dealt with Hartlepool. It’s unprofessional.

“I pick a team based on performances and what I see in training. I don’t let my eyes tell me lies.”

He added: “I never pick it on favouritism. If there was a criticism when I walked in it was perhaps that some players were playing that didn’t deserve to be getting the shirt.

“I am not going to get involved in that debate as everyone sees football in different ways.

“But no one in this stadium will want to beat Hartlepool more than me. Therefore I know when it comes to picking the team, to picking the bench, to making the substitutions, you have a real responsibility to get that right for yourself, the players and the fans.”

Evans said chairman John Radford was happy with the outcome of the players’ decisions too.

“I had a good meeting with the chairman, as I always do,” he said.

“I had an option of giving the opportunity to one or two lads to move out but the chairman is quite keen to see everyone around which is quite unusual.

“We have to take some credit as a management team and we have balanced the numbers out and the finance, so it’s almost level, and we’ve sold a player during that period. So we’ve done the business side well for the chairman.”

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Baggies test as Howkins eyes up weekend Stags return
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Monday 06 February 2017

Loanee Kyle Howkins will come back into contention for Mansfield Town’s home clash with Hartlepool United on Saturday if he comes through a midweek West Brom U23s game.

The giant centre half is trying to come back from a knee injury sustained against Oldham last month and Stags boss Steve Evans is expecting fellow centre half George Taft back a week later after both joined in training today.

“Both of them are stepping it up this week,” he said.

“Young Howkins will play in a game this week so he’s a bit further forward than George.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/baggies-test-as-howkins-eyes-up-weekend-stags-return-1-8374412

“George will be back up to full speed next Monday. He is back in the group today for quite a bit of it, but he will need a week of intense training before he goes right into the group.

“But I have still got players there that can play defensive roles. Collins can go back there, McGuire can go back there, Baxendale can play there, so we are good for cover.

“I just want competition to be in the team and competition to be on the bench.

Stags’ reserves have a game up at Hartlepool United tomorrow, but Evans said: “Kyle will play a game for West Brom U23s. I had the choice from Tony Pulis to do either and the reason I’ve chosen that is he will play against better opposition than Hartlepool reserves. It’s as simple as that.

“I want Kyle to be up to speed very quickly. Last time he almost went straight into the starting line-up and we got Kyle very fit over that three or four game period.

“We have four or five games very quickly and he got himself match sharp, and I said to Tony it was a shame with the tackle as he was just starting to look the type of defender that I know he would like over there.

“Touch wood, hopefully he will come through that game with no issues and he can come back into contention for the weekend.”

On Taft he added: “If I am being truthful, probably George would come into contention for Grimsby away.”

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Stags to send younger reserve side to Hartlepool
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Monday 06 February 2017

Mansfield Town will send a much more youthful reserve side to play away at Hartlepool United in the Central League tomorrow (2pm).

Stags manager Steve Evans had changed the emphasis on the reserve team since taking over, giving plenty of game time to first team fringe players rather than the U21s his predecessor, Adam Murray, had been using.

However, as they head to the North-East tomorrow, Evans will protect the majority of his squad from the long journey and send very few first teamers.

“There will be very few, only because the reality is we know how difficult it is,” he said.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-to-send-younger-reserve-side-to-hartlepool-1-8374455

“When we went to Carlisle in midweek - and we have to go to Yeovil in midweek soon - you have to recover the players.

“It’s not about the travelling up and playing - that is straightforward.

“You can’t ask a first team player to come back to his home in the early hours of the morning, have a sleep, and then come back in to training and be ready and fully fresh for Saturday.

“The boys that didn’t play on Saturday have played in a bit of a game today and they will do the same tomorrow, so they are getting plenty of minutes.”

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Stags have enough big characters to cope as ‘squeaky bum time’ approaches, says boss Evans
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans believes he has enough big characters in his dressing room to handle the pressure as Stags go into the final 17 games of the season still in with a huge chance of the play-offs.

Just two points adrift of the top seven, Stags face two home games in four days this week and Evans admitted: “Probably two or three weeks down the line it will be squeaky bum time.

“I know first hand that some of the people in the shake-up at the minute don’t handle squeaky bum time very well. They go to pieces and do different things.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-have-enough-big-characters-to-cope-as-squeaky-bum-time-approaches-says-boss-evans-1-8376557

“So my job is to make sure we can handle it as a group, not as individuals. It’s always about the group.

“Fortunately we’ve got some big characters in that dressing room, probably seven or eight big characters that will ensure that.”

Mansfield’s fate is in their own hands with games still to come against all seven teams above them.

“You have to earn the right in those games to compete for the level above,” he said.

“Because we are playing catch-up, it’s good for us to be playing the teams in that top group. If we can deal with those games, the prize - our destiny - is in our hands.”

Evans said the side’s fitness and will to win would play a huge part.

“We play with an intensity in our play and we always try to win a game,” he said.

“The amount of games at Rotherham that we won from the 85th minute to the end of the game was probably the difference of 30 points in the season.

“It was incredible and that was because we had a dressing room that didn’t know how to accept defeat or draws. Can you turn a defeat into a draw? Can you turn a draw into a win?”

He also felt the competition for places he has created would play a significant part too.

Evans continued: “Can you play with the fear. The fear is looking at the bench, not the manager and assistant manager - though someone would try to paint that picture. “It’s looking at the bench at the substitutes and looking in the stand.

“The boys who took the field on Saturday would have looked over and you just see an array of talent, the like of Matt Green, Yoann Arquin, Baxendale, Potter, MacDonald, Shearer all sitting there.

“It really is a fight for your shirt and if you can get that in your dressing room, an intensity in your play and a focus then, at the levels we’re at, it normally produces a winning team.”

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New ticket deal as Stags target top seven spot from home double
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas

Mansfield Town have a golden chance of bursting into the play-off spots for the first time under Steve Evans this week with two home games against struggling sides in four days.

And club chairman John Radford has launched a second ‘buy one get one free’ ticket offer for Tuesday to help bolster the club’s growing support as momentum builds.

Stags take on Hartlepool United on Saturday (3pm) before Accrington Stanley visit on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Fans who purchase an Accrington ticket will receive a free one for the following home game against Newport County on Saturday, February 25th.

After seven unbeaten League games, Stags go into the home double favourites for success.

However, boss Evans warned: “There are six points up for grabs. But it’s going to be difficult.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/new-ticket-deal-as-stags-target-top-seven-spot-from-home-double-1-8376067

“Look at Accrington’s results the last few weeks under a wily old fox in John Coleman. But we’ll worry about Accrington after Hartlepool.

“They’ve just changed managers and have they got the most experienced and probably the best manager in League Two at their football club in Dave Jones? I would nod my head and tick the box on that one.

“He is a manager I came up against at Sheffield Wednesday. He knows what he doing. He knows the game inside out.

“He made some deadline signings and I looked at their performance at the weekend when they drew and they should have beaten Yeovil.

“Did they play at their best of the season? Maybe not far off it and that’s Dave Jones within a couple of weeks.

“So it’s going to be a big ask for us on Saturday. But hopefully we’ll get a big support behind us. It makes such a difference when the Stags fans turn out.”

He added: “If we have a good three or four days and win two matches, we can allow the supporters to dream then. We can’t. We have to get back out on the training ground and get ready for matches.

“But to win those games, starting with Saturday, we are going to need their help.”

On the ticket offer, Stags’ chairman Radford said: “The club is on a real high just now and the buzz around One Call Stadium and in the town is palpable.

“We are playing some very impressive football under Steve Evans, who has given the squad a real shot in the arm with his experience, managerial skills and the new signings made.

“We’re on a great run, unbeaten in the league in 2017, and now is the time for the town’s people to come and support us in great numbers.

“Two large crowds for the aforementioned home fixtures would really aid our players in our fight for a top seven finish.

“Everyone is welcome inside One Call Stadium. We’d love a great crowd for both games to spur us on to what will surely be a nail-biting end to this exciting season.”

The offer is available now and fans can acquire their tickets by visiting the ticket office at One Call Stadium or via 01623 482 482 (Option 1). Please note that this special offer cannot be purchased online.

Supporters are encouraged to purchase tickets as early as possible, however, tickets can be bought on the day of the Accrington Stanley match from the ticket office.

The office is open from 10am until 5pm from Monday to Friday or 10am until kick-off on a home matchday, re-opening at full-time until 5.15pm.

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Latest | February 2017