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Archived News from February 2017

27th February 2017 0:29

Boss looking to up the ante for Newport clash
mansfieldtown.net, 23rd February 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans says his side need to return to the type of performances which have seen them climb to the brink of the play-offs, starting with Saturday’s match against Newport County AFC.

After a nine-match unbeaten run came to an end against Grimsby Town last week, Stags sit in eighth position in Sky Bet League Two, one place behind Colchester United on goal difference.

And the manager believes the competitive nature of Sky Bet League Two means the teams who aren’t necessarily fighting for a play-off spot are often the ones who pose the biggest threat.

“I’ve always maintained, and I said it in the week when I met the fans, which was a fantastic evening, that we have two or three games against teams who are not involved at the top end, they’re always the most difficult to win," the Stags' manager said.

“The games against the top sides always take care of themselves, that always comes down to quality and we think we’ve got a lot of that.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boss-looking-to-up-the-ante-for-newport-clash-3590420.aspx#O1TqfUu3Hb0L3hrF.99

“We can only focus one at a time; let’s deal with Saturday, we then have a massive week ahead of us - with two long trips down to Yeovil and Cheltenham.

“If you look at the points differential between fourth in the table and down to [15th], it’s not much more [than to seventh place]. We’re five or six points away from being at the top end of the play-off group, so it’s all tight.”

Stags welcome the Exiles to One Call Stadium this Saturday (25 February, 3.00pm kick-off) and the gaffer has commended Newport boss Graham Westley for how much he has improved the South Wales outfit since taking over in October.

“The first thing I’ll do is give Graham enormous credit. I think when he went in there, they were pretty much sunk and he’s given them real hope.

“They’ve lost one game in seven or eight and I’ve watched the full re-run of their visit to Cambridge last week and there’s only one decision that the FA could make which was to overturn the red card given to young Mitchell Rose.

“If that’s not given and there’s no penalty and it’s a corner like it should be, then it’s a very credible draw at a very difficult place to go.

“I think possibly if we’d be taking on the team that we took on at the start of the season, I think it would be quite comfortably a Stags’ win. But Graham has made the difference which has given them a real fighting chance of staying in the [English] Football League.”

Defender Hayden White will be suspended for the visit of the Exiles after being sent off in last week’s defeat to Grimsby, whilst the boss also revealed that Kyle Howkins received a set-back in his comeback from his knee injury in mid-week and the club is awaiting the results of a scan which will reveal how serious the setback is.

However, centre-half George Taft is progressing nicely and performed well in a behind-closed-doors match earlier this week.

“George played and came through really well, I’m delighted with him. He’s getting fitter by the day, unfortunately the opposite of that is Kyle came off at half-time with a little niggle up at Middlesbrough in his game for West Brom. That’s a little set-back for him but George has come through.

“We’ve got players that can play in that position (right-back). Lee Collins is very accustomed to there, Rhys Bennett can go across there, there’s no issues with that, young Ben Whiteman has played in League One for Sheffield United there, so we’ve got no issues about being able to cover that position for us, none at all.”

Moreover, it has been revealed that striker Tyler Blake has extended his loan spell at Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division side Mickleover Sports until Saturday 22 April.

Supporters will be able to view Steve Evans’ news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD later today.


Taft joy, but Stags setback as Howkins is ruled out of Newport game
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 23 February 2017

Mansfield Town had mixed news on their injured defenders this week as George Taft came through his first practice game, but Kyle Howkins suffered a setback.

Loanee Howkins, who has been out with a knee injury, was hoping to get through an U23s game with parent club West Brom to be fit enough to play for the Stags against Newport County on Saturday, but had to come off at the interval.

However, Taft, struggling long term with a hamstring problem, successfully played in an inter-squad gaame on the main pitch.

“George played and he came through really well,” said manager Steve Evans.

“I am delighted with him. He is getting fitter by the day.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/taft-joy-but-stags-setback-as-howkins-is-ruled-out-of-newport-game-1-8405678

“Unfortunately, the opposite to that, Kyle came off at half-time with a little niggle at Middlesbrough in his game for West Brom. So that’s a little set-back for him. “But George has come through. He’s under our medical care here so he’s getting the best of everything.

“We played on the main pitch here and had a really competitive game between two teams, it was a good game to sit and watch.

“George is probably still a week or two away from being able to compete to be in. He’s good enough, but is he ready enough for a place on the bench? Maybe?”

On Howkins, he added: “We are still waiting. I think he was getting re-scanned yesterday, so we will wait on the results.

“When someone here hears there is a re-scan they get a bit worried. We don’t know if it’s just a niggle and a little set-back of a few days like he had before. Sometimes that can be the case.

“All we know is he came off feeling a knock. At that level if you feel something you come off.

“It will knock him back if it’s his knee, but we are hoping it’s not.

“Until the medical team tell us what it is we are pretty much guessing like everyone else.”


Evans’ praise for Westley rescue job at Newport
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 23 February 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans paid tribute to Newport County manager Graham Westley’s efforts to keep the Welsh club up ahead of Saturday’s clash at One Call Stadium.

But Evans knows his Stags side need to get back on track against the ever-improving bottom side in the Football League after only one point out of the last six saw Mansfield slip out the play-off places.

“It’s serious as we are at the business end of the season,” said Evans.

“We’ve dropped out the play-offs on goal difference and playing catch-up is difficult.

Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/evans-praise-for-westley-rescue-job-at-newport-1-8405867

“We know what we will get from a Graham Westley side and the first thing I will do is give him enormous credit.

“When he went in there they were pretty much sunk. I think he’s given them real hope and they’ve only lost one game in eight.

“I have looked back at the full re-run of their visit to Cambridge last week and there was only one decision the FA could make, which was to overturn the red card to young Mitchell Rose.

“If that’s not given and there is no penalty, it should have been a corner, then it’s a very credible draw at a very difficult place to go.

“I watched the extended highlights of their game against Morecambe in midweek and they should have been three or four nil up at one stage.

“But they ended up with a point. Enormous credit goes to Graham and it will be a tough ask.”

He added: “They have drawn with the likes of Doncaster etc in recent weeks so it shows this is a really difficult test for us.

“His teams have always been difficult to beat. He brings the right type of players into his football club that you can get at that level and size of club and he’s got the best he could get.

“They are fighting tooth and nail and we’ll have to be at our best to add to our points tally.”

Mansfield Town began the season in style with a 3-2 win at Newport. But things have changed hugely at both ends since that day.

“Everything is different now, different managers, different players, different coaching staffs so therefore it’s a different game,” said Evans.

“I think possibly if we were taking on the team we faced at the start of the season it would be quite comfortably a Stags win. But Graham has made the difference which has given them a real fighting chance of staying in the Football League.

“But we can’t concern ourself too much about their problems. We need to stay focused on our own situation and return to the type of form and displays that put us near those play-offs.

“There will be changes in the line-up. We need to win the game - that’s very clear. But we trust all our players in the dressing room.”

Evans will certainly need someone to play right back with Hayden White serving a one game ban, but said: “We have players that can play in that position. We have no issues about being able to cover that position.”

Evans’ immediate problem was getting his players through training as Storm Doris battered the One Call Stadium this morning.

He said: “It will affect training. With these conditions, if it was a Football League fixture and the referee turned up today he would have said it’s not safe for spectators.

“But we will go out on the grass and let the boys try their best. “We have to go out there and practice as practise makes perfect.”


Evans expecting to be in Stags’ dug-out on Saturday
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 23 February 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans is confident he will be on the bench for Saturday’s visit of Newport County and is hoping assistant Paul Raynor will be alongside him too.

Raynor was sent to the stand during the home draw with Accrington and Evans suffered the same fate at Grimbsy last weekend.

Both have now had letters from the FA asking them to explain themselves and, depending on how the FA view their answers, both, one of them, or neither could end up with a touchline ban.

However, Evans said: “I don’t know the actual timescale on Paul’s like I do mine.

“Certainly the timescales I’ve got, I will be out there on Saturday and I assume Paul will be with me unless he has a different timescale.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-expecting-to-be-in-stags-dug-out-on-saturday-1-8405618

“We’ve both had our letters and we both have to answer to them. That’s the FA way.

“We have been given time to respond so we will just go from there.”

Were they to suffer a touchline ban, Evans said it would have no effect on his players as he can do little once the game kicks-off.

“There’s been many times I’ve not been on the pitch,” he said.

“There’s many times I’ve not been in the stadium. It doesn’t affect us.

“What we bring is our preparation Monday to Friday.

“On a Saturday when they cross that line 99.5 per cent of that is the players, as Jurgen Klopp said but he stole it from me!”


Steve Evans wants Jamie McGuire to join Mansfield Town coaching team
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Steve Evans confirmed he is hoping to see midfield tiger Jamie McGuire join the Mansfield Town coaching staff next season.

But the Stags boss insisted McGuire still had a major role to play in this season’s play-offs bid - and he was firmly in his mind for this weekend’s home clash with Newport County.

Evans said McGuire had been one of the fringe players offered the chance to go out on loan in January.

“Jamie had an opportunity to go out, as three or four others did,” he said.


“But he came into my office and said ‘I don’t want to go anywhere gaffer. I think what you’re doing here is pretty special and I want to be a part of it’.

“We think he is pretty special as a character. He has been fantastic in games we’ve played him in and he’s only come out the team because Lee Collins has done particularly well in that role.

“We love his infectious character and he said he is doing his B licence in the summer and focused on getting involved in coaching.

“We said we’d love Jamie to become a part of us. Going forward he has such positivity, is a big voice in the dressing room and we love working with him. So he gets all our support.”

Evans added: “I do still see him playing a major part in our season on the pitch, absolutely. Or we’d have said ‘Jamie you can come back in the summer and help us coach’.

“He has a big part to play. We played an inter-squad game the other day and he did very well. So he gives us food for thought for Saturday.

“But if I don’t play Jamie McGuire until pitching him in on the last day at Crawley and we needed something, he’d give everything he’d got and more. That’s the type of lad he is.”


Rose will face Stags as red card row rolls on Mitchell Rose
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 23 February 2017

Former Stags midfielder Mitch Rose has been charged by the FA over knocking the referee’s red card out of his hand last weekend.

But he has asked for a personal hearing next week so looks set to play for Newport County against his old club at One Call Stadium on Saturday.

Evans, who is also in hot water with the FA this week after being sent to the stand at Grimsby last Saturday, said he hoped they would treat Rose with leniency.

Rose was furious with referee Trevor Kettle at Cambridge after a last minute penalty was given against him along with the red card, which was rescinded on appeal this week.

Joe Day save George Maris’ spot kick, but Mark Roberts bundled home the rebound on 93 minutes to seal a 3-2 win.

“I hope a bit of common sense applies there to see a young man in the 90th minute in the emotional games we have in football, doing something he accepts he shouldn’t do,” said Evans.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/rose-will-face-stags-as-red-card-row-rolls-on-1-8405777

“Maybe a letter there would suffice. But I am not the FA and it will be interesting to see what the match referee has put in his report.

“I can’t get involved in that other than we expected Mitchell to be playing against us when we let him join Newport County.”

Evans let Rose join the Exiles last month and said:“He is a lovely kid.

“It wasn’t a case of me saying ‘Mitch, on you go son’. It was a case of Mitch said he wanted to play football.

“He’s got a young baby and a lovely young family and just wanted to play. Players should have that approach.

“I said to him you don’t have to go, but you’ve got an opportunity to play your football like you’re asking.

“We gave him an open-ended ticket. He went off and spoke to Graham (manager Westley) and over a couple of days he came back to me and said he wanted to go.

“All barring Saturday of course we wish him every success.”

Newport manager Westley said: “I’ve never seen a red card issued like it.

“It was issued in his face, in a way he had to step back to avoid the referee’s elbow. He is going to have to explain that, for sure.”


The best is yet to come, says MacDonald
mansfieldtown.net, 23rd February 2017

Fleet-footed winger Alex MacDonald says Stags’ fans are yet to see the best of him as he works towards returning to the peak of his physical fitness.

The former Burnley man was one of two Deadline Day signings at One Call Stadium and he has scored one goal in five appearances since joining the club.

And the 26-year-old says his best is yet to come in a Stags’ shirt as he builds up his match sharpness.

“It’s been a hard couple weeks, getting back to match fitness and I’m starting to get there but from Saturday onwards, I think I’m going to start seeing the best out of myself," said MacDonald.

“I’ve settled in really well and I’m just looking forward to showing some good performances on the pitch on a Saturday.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/the-best-is-yet-to-come-says-macdonald-3590598.aspx#MBkqIpuAp3Q8L7SL.99

“I think I’ve got nowhere near where I know I’m capable of getting yet. The more games that come, hopefully if I get selected I can stamp my mark on games and really start to show everyone what I’m about.”

After recording a draw and a defeat in their last two games, MacDonald says the belief in the dressing room is still high and they are aiming to bounce straight back against Newport on Saturday.

“The belief in the dressing room is still there. We have our goals and things that we want to do. Although we haven’t had two amazing results in the last couple [of games], we’ve been on a great run prior to that when I first joined and we’re looking to start [that again] on Saturday and hopefully get another good run going.

“I think they’re (Newport) on quite a good run of form at the minute as well, considering they’re bottom of the table. They’ve got a good manager in there now and he’s starting to implement his stuff on it.

“We’re looking to impose our style on them and hopefully come away with a positive result.”

The Warrington-born winger won promotion from Sky Bet League Two last season with former club Oxford United and he says Stags have the ambition to replicates the U’s success.

“It’s a very well-ran club, it’s a club that’s got ambition and it matches mine. With the appointment of Steve [Evans] and the squad that they’ve assembled, it was something that I was really, really keen to take on and since I’ve been here there’s been no surprises.

“It’s a really good squad and a very good set-up. I’m just looking forward to being part of something going forward.

“It’s a hard, hard league to get out of. It’s physical but there’s a lot of teams that can really play now and there’s a lot of good individual players who have come down to League Two. It is hard but it’s been just as hard the last few years I’ve been playing in it.”

Supporters will be able to login to Stags PlayerHD later today to view Alex MacDonald’s news conference in full.



Latest | February 2017