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PLYMOUTH PREVIEWS
15th March 2017 21:10


Stags close to full strength ahead of big match
mansfieldtown.net, 9th March 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans has a near-full complement of players to choose from for Saturday's home match against Plymouth Argyle, with only goalkeeper Jake Kean unavailable through injury.

After defender Kyle Howkins returned to the Stags' squad to take a place on the bench against Cheltenham last week, fellow centre-back George Taft has now fully recovered from his hamstring injury, whilst strikers Matt Green and Danny Rose have returned to full training since their respective groin and hamstring strains.

And the boss says having the quartet return from injury is like having four new players enter the dressing room.

“Obviously they’ve (Green and Rose) missed some game-time but both have trained, both have looked quite sharp in training and we’ll assess them today and make sure again tomorrow," the Stags' manager said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/mini-season-starts-on-saturday-boss-3616497.aspx#Hqu6map5PqsZ5JyC.99

“We’ll pick almost - almost - from an entire squad. There’s only Jake that will be missing and not available to us.

“The rest are available, which is including the likes of [Kyle] Howkins and including the likes of [George] Taft. From last week to this week, we’ve got four new players in the dressing room.”

With Saturday’s home match against Plymouth Argyle marking the start of an '11-game season', the manager says he has used the time since last week’s draw at Cheltenham to freshen up his squad.

“This is now an 11-game season for us now. You could say that’s the same for others but that’s what it comes down to. We need to deal with the next four or five games in March and make sure that we give ourselves the chance in April to be involved in squeaky bum time.

“Because of the form since January - we’ve lost one since Boxing Day - that’s given us a chance to be involved at an exciting time.

“We’ve used it (the time since the Cheltenham game) to get some good work in to the players but also to make sure that mentally and physically they’re sharp and they’re ready."

The former Leeds United boss believes that Saturday’s visitors are ‘one of the best two teams in the league’ and has urged Stags’ fans to take advantage of the club’s superb ‘buy one, get one free’ ticket offer for a match which he believes has the hallmarks to be a ‘great game’.

“Derek [Adams, Plymouth boss] and Craig [Brewster, Argyle assistant manager] will have them focussed and they’ll have done their homework on what we’re going to try and do but it’s got the hallmarks of being a great game at this stage of the football [season].

“My responsibility is the team and it would be wonderful to be backed by a big support. I said to the Mansfield public - can we have the best crowd of the season? That’s going to be tough because we’ve had local derbies against the likes of Notts County here.

“We can do our best to drag a neighbour along, if you look across the road and someone’s doing their garden - get them down to the One Call Stadium on Saturday.

“This is their town, this is their team and we’re going to need to make sure that we’re the supporters who are creating the atmosphere for our players in what is sure to be, potentially, a wonderful game of football.”

Boss Steve Evans’ full news conference is available to view on Stags PlayerHD.

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Evans looks to freshen it up as Green and Rose return
chad.co.uk, by MATT BROOKS, Thursday 09 March 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans says he wants to freshen the team up for the arrival of Plymouth Argyle to the One Call Stadium, after revealing he has a near full squad to choose from for Saturday’s League Two clash.

Strikers Matt Green and Danny Rose played 60 minutes in an inter-squad match behind-closed-doors on Tuesday, as they look to build their match sharpness ahead of a run of fixtures which sees Stags take on Colchester and Carlisle next week. Danny Rose Both came through the run out unscathed and Evans said the pair are in contention for the visit of second-in-the-table Plymouth. While defensive duo Kyle Howkins and George Taft are also available again after recovering from respective injuries.

Evans said: “They (Green and Rose) played a practice match for an hour. Both were involved and both did really well so providing they train properly today and tomorrow they’re in contention. The concern you have is about starting the game. I think you understand as a coach if you start them the chances of them playing the 90 are remote.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-looks-to-freshen-it-up-as-green-and-rose-return-1-8430352

“It’s either you accept they are going to play for a period in the game and the way football is now, it’s all science and you can probably guess where they’re going to be and when, or do you say they’re going to make a big introduction later in the game when it becomes stretched a little bit.

“When you’ve got Matt Green and Danny Rose becoming available to you, you’re bringing in two strikers who could play in any team in this league, never mind Mansfield, any team in this league. And probably half or three quarters of the teams in the league above.”

Manager Evans said he was pleased with the strength in depth of his squad and the options he has at his disposal once more, following the return to training of the four players with only keeper Jake Kean sidelined.

“As a manager the first thing you do is you when the game is not going well is you look behind you and the options you’ve got on your bench,” he said.

“In some weeks, particularly in my early reign here, I looked behind me and I could probably have seen one or two punters in the crowd who could have helped us.

“I’ve said since I strengthened the squad I’ve been fortunate when I look behind that I’ve got some real options. Last couple of games we’ve had less options because people like Rosey and Greeny weren’t available to us and Kyle (Howkins) wasn’t available to us and (George) Tafty was never available to us.

“When we look behind us on Saturday - and the lads laugh at me when I say it in the dressing room - we see the cavalry. When the cavalry comes round the mountain we’ve got a chance. When we introduce our substitutes we’ve got a chance with that quality of player coming on the pitch.”

And added: “We want to freshen the team up on Saturday and we will freshen the team up. We’ve got a big week and when we’ve got another big week we want to keep it fresh again. It tends to settle down out of Colchester and then it’s 100 per cent ‘do you deserve to keep your shirt?’.”

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‘We need 11 players at the top of their game,’ says Evans
chad.co.uk, by MATT BROOKS

Steve Evans believes his Mansfield Town players will have to be on top of their game against a top Plymouth Argyle side.

Saturday’s visitors to the One Call Stadium are entrenched in the automatic spots after leading the way for the majority of the first half of the season.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-v-plymouth-argyle-preview-we-need-11-players-at-the-top-of-their-game-says-evans-1-8430596

They have, however, fallen away in recent weeks, toppled by Doncaster Rovers, with just one win in their last six league matches, of which they have lost three.

The latest defeat came on Tuesday night at home to a Blackpool team who find themselves four points off the top-seven in League Two after a 3-0 win at Home Park.

Stags, meanwhile, didn’t have a midweek fixture to negotiate and Evans has used that time to keep his players fresh physically and mentally for three games in seven days.

“We’ve used (the time) to make sure they’re mentally and physically they are sharp and they are ready because we’re going to have to be against a top class side in Plymouth, who despite a poor result on Tuesday, are one of the two best teams in the league and it’s going to be tough for us,” he said.

“Their fans will travel. When they have a period in the game, and they will have a period in the game, it will almost feel like a home game. I’ve watched Plymouth away a couple of times this season and the first thing I’ve gone away remembering is the vocal level of the supporters.

“Derek (Adams) and Craig (Brewster) will have them focused and they’ll have done their homework on what we’re going to try and do. It’s got the hallmarks of being a great game of football at this stage of the season. This is now an 11-game season now. You could say the same for others but that’s what it comes down to.

“We need to deal with the next four or five game in March and then give ourselves an opportunity in April to be in squeaky bum time.”

Plymouth were unlucky, in Evans’ eyes, not to achieve promotion last season through the play-offs and the Stags boss thinks they are well-equipped to go one better this time around.

“They have built on a good season last season,” said Evans. “They were very unlucky not to be promoted, losing out in the play-offs, they were able to add to that squad so as a minimum he (Adams) knew he had a play-off team. He was given some good backing by the chairman and the board down there.

“This season they go on a great cup run and that allows them to add some good players in January, such as (Ryan) Taylor from Oxford and such like, it will allow them some time to go away in the sunshine and kick-start their season. It’s a good recipe last season topped up with some excellent players this season.

“And an experienced management team to make sure they’re on a level keel.”

But, following just the one defeat since the turn of the year, Evans is confident his side can beat Plymouth.

He added: “It’s about what we do. The result on Saturday will be determined by what we do. We’ve got two approaches. Mentally, we need to be focused and ready; if it is that way it will be game on. I can’t sit here and say ‘we will beat Plymouth Argyle’. I think we can beat Plymouth but they are a quality side.

“We are capable of beating them but for us to beat them it is not a day where we can have three or four players stand up and play well in the second half against Newport County. We need ten or 11 players at the top of their game for 96 minutes or whatever the match referee determines to play.

“And only by that return will we see a return on Saturday.”

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Boys buzzing ahead of season finale - Shearer
mansfieldtown.net, 9th March 2017

Goalkeeper Scott Shearer says there is excitement in the Stags’ dressing room with 11 games left to play in the Sky Bet League Two promotion race.

Of the 11 games which remain in the league campaign, Stags still have the entire top seven and two of the chasing pack left to play as they sit two points behind Exeter in seventh place.

However, 36-year-old stopper Shearer sees the Stags’ run-in as a positive and says his team-mates are excited to be a part of it.

“I’m excited and I know the group are excited down in the dressing room. We’re working hard and we just need to go on the pitch and perform like we know we can perform,” Shearer said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boys-buzzing-ahead-of-season-finale-shearer-3616308.aspx#T1Tl8J6FQqxR0MHf.99

“It’s really nice to play in those games. The tough games are when you play against the lower teams who are fighting for their lives.

“It comes down to the grit and determination of your group and I do believe we’ve got that in abundance here. It’s getting to the stage now where we’re going to be in single figure games soon and there’s no room for error.”

The Glasgow-born goalkeeper has recently returned to the side following Jake Kean’s injury which he sustained against Newport County and although Shearer is pleased to be back in the starting XI, he’s admitted his displeasure at the circumstances.

“I’m gutted for him to get injured - really, really gutted for him because he’s a young lad who’s not had a lot of football and to see him come out through an injury, I was sorry to see that.

“I’m very competitive and I want to play but I don’t want it to be that way. You don’t want it to be to the detriment of one of your team-mates. I’m happy to be in there and happy to be playing but I’m gutted for Jake.

“We’ve got a lot of experience with myself and Brian [Jensen]. Jake himself has got a good amount of experience but he’s just not played very regularly over the last few years.”

After winning promotion twice before with boss Steve Evans at Rotherham United, Shearer believes the January additions to the squad have increased the promotion-winning knowhow in the dressing room.

“Fortunately for myself, I’ve been in a lot of these positions. When I was with the gaffer at Rotherham in League Two, we had the same sort of scenario at this time and we went on an incredible run and we got there.

“I know what it takes to get there; a lot of the lads in our team know what it takes to get there and I just hope we can get out and perform.

“I think it just ups the whole standard of the group, when you bring freshness into the group. Subconsciously you [might] feel like you’re going to start the game but as soon as new blood comes in it ups everyone’s levels.

“For the whole group, it’s been tremendous but then to add that experience of extra promotion winners, it’s been different class.”

To view Scott Shearer’s news conference in its entirety, log in to Stags PlayerHD.

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Scott Shearer talks to Jason Harrison on StagsPlayerHD about the incident at Yeovil:

"I came out hastily but the ball hit off my face onto my hand and I think the ref had a really good view of it. He saw that the ball wasn't going near the goal so I didn't feel under any threat of getting sent off.

"I gave him (the ref) the chance to do it (send me off) but good refereeing happened that night and I was thankful for that.

"(I came out) genuinely thinking I could reach it, then halfway through I realised that I'm very slow. Then the panic set in but we got away with it and got a good clean sheet."

transcribed by Martin

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Stags keeper Shearer ‘gutted’ for injured team-mate Kean
chad.co.uk, by MATT BROOKS, Thursday 09 March 2017

Stags stopper Scott Shearer said he was “gutted” for team-mate Jake Kean when he sustained a knee injury a home to Newport County. Kean, on loan at Mansfield Town from Sheffield Wednesday, is back with parent club Owls during his rehabilitation and is expected to be sidelined for another ten days to two weeks at least.

His misfortune presented Shearer with the chance to shine and the 36-year-old has made the most of his opportunity so far, having not conceded in 230 minutes of League Two football.

Shearer said: “The team went on an incredible run of keeping clean sheets and winning games (with Jake Kean in the team) so I couldn’t really argue for change.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-keeper-shearer-gutted-for-injured-team-mate-kean-1-8431015

“I was gutted for him when he got injured because he’s a young lad who has not had a lot of football and to see him come out through injury; I was sorry to see that, you don’t want to see that happen to one of your team-mates.

“I’m very competitive and I want to play but I don’t want it to be done on the detriment of one of our team-mates. I want to play, I’m happy to be in there and happy to be playing but I’m gutted for Jake.

“I’ve not had any games since the 1st January so getting back in I had to get the rustiness out and to not concede a goal yet is very nice.

“There is a strong unit in front of me. They need to be marshalled and spoken to a lot but they’ve been brilliant and they’ve worked really hard.

“All they want to do is keep clean sheets and win the game for us that way. It’s a pleasure to play behind them.”

And Shearer believes the club is well-stocked with goalkeepers, with Brian Jensen also challenging for the No.1 spot.

“We’ve got a lot of experience with myself and Brian,” said Shearer. “Jake has got a good amount of experience, he’s just not played that regularly over the past few years. I think the club’s okay in that department.

“I think Jake acts older than us. He’s got an old head, the boy, but he’s very receptive to anything me or Brian say to him to try and help him with his game, just like we all are; we’re all trying to help each other.”

An influx of players in January followed Steve Evans’ appointment and Shearer believes the current squad has the right attributes to challenge for promotion.

He added: “When you bring freshness into the group it ups everyone’s levels. For the whole group it’s been tremendous and just to add in to that you’ve got promotion winners it’s been different class.

“I’m excited, I know the group is excited. We’re working hard and we just need to go and perform how we know we can perform.

“It comes down to the grit and determination you’ve got in your group and I think we’ve got that here. It’s getting to single figure games soon and there is no room for error.

“I think we’re getting to that stage where every game is important. At the start of the season you can always think ‘we’ll make them up at the end of the season’. Every game we go into now we’ve got to at least try to take the maximum.”

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Plymouth Argyle manager Derek Adams sets his sights on club record
March 09, 2017, by Chris Errington, plymouthherald.co.uk

DEREK ADAMS has set a target for Plymouth Argyle of breaking the club record for the most away wins in a Football League season.

The promotion-chasing Pilgrims are currently on 10 this term and will be aiming for number 11 against eighth-placed Mansfield Town on Saturday (3pm).

Argyle's record stands at 12, which they have achieved on three previous occasions, including last season.

The other two were in 1929/30 and 2001/02, with the Pilgrims promoted as divisional champions both times.

Second-placed Argyle have seven more away games this term, starting against Mansfield at Field Mill, to set a new record.

Adams told Herald Sport: "That's the target. We will need to do that to get ourselves in the automatic promotion places.

"We need to go away from home and win games."

Read more at http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/plymouth-argyle-manager-derek-adams-sets-his-sights-on-club-record/story-30192665-detail/story.html#mwaqDdTdRRAb3C0z.99

Five of Argyle remaining away fixtures are against teams with aspirations of either automatic promotion or securing a play-off spot.

They include trips to leaders Doncaster Rovers, third-placed Portsmouth and play-off hopefuls Wycombe Wanderers and Colchester United.

So the Pilgrims are going to need to be at their most resilient best on their travels to pick up the points they need to maintain their position.

Only four of their last 11 league games of the season will be at Home Park and Adams said: "It's quite strange how it has worked out that way.

"I'm not sure how it has but, from my point of view, we have done well away from home."

He added: "We enjoy playing away from home. We have been able to win 10 games, which is a good points total."

Argyle won 2-1 at Mansfield in the FA Cup earlier this season after a late goal from David Fox

Argyle have already won at Mansfield this season, beating them 2-1 in a FA Cup first round tie in November.

Later that month the Stags replaced manager Adams Murray with the experienced Steve Evans and they have won 11 of their 22 competitive matches under him.

They are currently two points behind Exeter City, who occupy the last of the four play-off positions.

Adams said: We went there in the FA Cup and won 2-1. They are a similar position to what they were then.

"They have obviously changed manager and personnel. They invested in the January transfer window to try to push into the play-offs.

"I wouldn't say they are too different under Steve Evans but they have got new players in their squad."

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Kingdom of Evans
Fri 10 Mar 2017, by Rick Cowdery, pafc.co.uk

EVERYONE in football, it seems, has an opinion about Steve Evans, but few of them have experienced the Mansfield Town manager first hand.
Luke McCormick, who will lead Argyle out for Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two at the Stags’ One Call Satdium, has. The Pilgrims goalkeeper and captain made two appearances for Boston United - the other Pilgrims - in the autumn of 2004, when Evans was manager of the then League Two side.

Since then, he has taken charge of Crawley - where current Argyle assistant manager Craig Brewster was his right-hand man - Rotherham and Leeds, before being appointed by Mansfield after Adam Murray was sacked following Argyle’s FA Cup win there in November.

“I know the way he works,” said Luke. “He’ll have all the lads chomping at the bit to get going. He demands a lot from his players so they’ll be a different sort of side to the one that we faced in the FA Cup earlier in the season.

“He’s a taskmaster, that’s for sure, and he’s a very passionate man. He doesn’t concern himself with what others think of him.

“He knows the way to get the best out of players. His cv speaks wonders for himself; he’s got plenty of promotions on his cv and no doubt he’ll be looking to do that this at Mansfield this season.”

Read more at http://www.pafc.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/kingdom-of-evans-3616737.aspx#xIpGX6K5AqYSG3lW.99

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