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EVANS: I'M NOT GOING TO QATAR / EXETER PREVIEWS
5th April 2017 11:12


Duo re-fighting for place in Stags' line-up
mansfieldtown.net, 30th March 2017

Defender Krystian Pearce and captain Lee Collins are both stepping up their comebacks ahead of Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated home match at home to Exeter City in Sky Bet League Two.

Former Torquay United man Pearce missed last week’s victory over Morecambe with an ankle sprain, despite almost being deemed fit to play, whilst Collins has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain which he suffered against Colchester United just over two weeks ago.

But manager Steve Evans has revealed that both players have now returned to training, whilst centre-half George Taft is also pushing for a starting berth.

“He’s trained for a couple of days, so Krystian will be available. George Taft has played in a practice match on Monday and I thought he was outstanding, so from that point of view, we have good options," the Stags' chief said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boss-receives-injury-boost-ahead-of-big-match-3649336.aspx#Bb8f6cr8oEb5ya8l.99

“Lee’s trained for a couple of days so we’re almost on a full house. Paddy Hoban will miss [the match]; he’s got a little bit of a strained knee, if I can use that expression, so he’ll be the one that’s out.

“I did say that when Kyle [Howkins] was back fit and when big Tafty was back fit, they’d be like two new signings and they are.

"George Taft is pressing to start. He’s been that good in the practice match and that good in training, but we’ll make an informed decision when we train today and tomorrow and as I always do, sit down with the staff and pick what we think we have to do against a decent Exeter side.”

On Saturday, we face an Exeter side who sit one point above the Stags and currently occupy the final play-off place.

“It’s going to be really tough for us; this is a team that way back when they beat us, I said they’ll end up in the play-offs or fighting for it, and I believed it. The manager’s got a big part to play with that and more importantly, his recruitment. His players have been excellent for him.

“The supporters are going to play a big part on Saturday, for me. We’re playing against a quality side [with] quality players. The game will be on a knife edge either way but there’s a big prize for both, which is to get into those play-offs.

“I know Exeter’s sitting on the cusp of them now, but they’re hanging in there as opposed to being really in them and we want to be really in them and I’m sure Paul Tisdale does as well.”

Speculation arose earlier in the week suggested the manager had been offered an opportunity to take up a lucrative role in Qatar, but our boss has completely dismissed the possibility of him accepting any offer and committed his future to the Stags.

"A week ago, or just under that, an opportunity came back again via the guys that look after me, and I said to them at that time, for the second time, it’s not for me

"I’m not going to go there and I’m only focussed on the job here in hand which has got seven games remaining to take a club into the play-offs that were thinking possibly more about wanting to stay up when we arrived.

“I’m not going anywhere near that opportunity. I’m very grateful for that opportunity and it’s perhaps a sign that I came out of Leeds and I took some time away and I’ve come back in and I think within the inside of football, people have recognised the job that’s been done [at Mansfield].

“It’s not for me, it’s not for my family and my only focus is Exeter City on Saturday. I had a good meeting with the chairman (John Radford) and chief executive (Carolyn Radford) yesterday and they were as pleased as I am to just keep the focus on Saturday.”

Supporters can view the gaffer’s full news conference by logging in to Stags PlayerHD.

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Evans committed to Mansfield despite Qatar interest
mansfield103.co.uk, 30th March 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans has firmly said “thanks but no thanks” to a possible move to manage in Qatar.

He was originally approached when he left Leeds United last summer and, speaking at today's press conference, Evans has said that, despite further recent interest, he remains fully committed to the Stags.

Evans told Mansfield 103.2: "A week ago, or just under that, the opportunity came back again via the guys who look after me.

"I said to them at that time, for the second time, I'm not going to go there and I'm only focussed on here and the job in hand.

http://www.mansfield103.co.uk/blogs/evans-committed-to-mansfield-despite-qatar-interest/

"We've got seven games remaining to take a club into the play-offs that possibly were thinking more about fighting to stay up when we arrived.

"[A move to Qatar] is not for me - and not for my family - and my only focus is the match against Exeter on Saturday.

"I had a good meeting with the chairman and chief executive [on Wednesday], we went into a bit of detail about it and they were as pleased as I am to just keep the focus on Saturday and that's what we'll be saying to everyone that talks to us."

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31 March 2017, ITV Calendar News
Steve Evans told ITV Calendar News: "Financially speaking the move to Qatar would have set me up for life.
"But I didn't want to live in Qatar, I wanted to stay in England.
"I've got 7 games here to give John and Carolyn Radford a chance of promotion, and then we'll sit down with a fantastic chairman and chief exec and talk about the future."

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Stags boss Evans assures fans he’s staying put despite lucrative Quatar offer
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 30 March 2017

Manager Steve Evans today assured Mansfield Town fans he was going nowhere after confirming he had this week turned down a lucrative offer for a second time to go and work in Qatar.

With seven games to go and Stags a point outside the play-offs, there were panic bells ringing in midweek when rumours of an Evans departure began to surface, not helped by the manager’s ‘no comment’ reply at the time.

But Evans met the press today and explained: “I didn’t want to comment as I didn’t want anyone to get involved in it, but obviously someone has put it out there.

“So the facts are that when I left Leeds United, within a matter of days I was given an opportunity to go out to Qatar.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-boss-evans-assures-fans-he-s-staying-put-despite-lucrative-quatar-offer-1-8466946

“Despite it being incredibly, incredibly financially beneficial, I said no at that time. It wasn’t for me. I was going to have a break and come in somewhere in English football where I wanted to be. “Just under a week ago that opportunity came back again via the guys that look after me, and I said to them at the time, for a second time, that’s not for me.

“I am not going to go there and I am only focused on the job here at hand, which has seven games remaining to take a club into the play-offs that were probably thinking more about fighting to stay up when we arrived.

“We have done a good job - and that’s the players that have done a good job as they have to win the games.

“I am not going anywhere near that opportunity (Qatar), though I am very grateful for it.”

Evans added: “I came out of Leeds and took some time away, and this is perhaps a sign that within football people recognise the job that’s been done.

“It’s been a success story so far here and we want it to continue.

“It comes on the back of a good job at Leeds where we delivered all the objectives, and of course the success we had at Rotherham.

“That’s why it’s come back and we understand why it’s come back. But it’s not for me or my family.”

Evans spoke to chairman John Radford yesterday and the matter has now been put to bed, but he did admit it wasn’t the first offer he’d had since joining Stags - the inevitable legacy of his phenomenal past successes.

Evans said: “My only focus is Exeter City on Saturday. I had a good meeting with the chairman and chief executive yesterday and they were as pleased as I am to keep the focus on Saturday.

“The chairman has had opportunities to have conversations (with other clubs) even since I joined the football club. And I had a number of opportunities to join different clubs when I first came in. “But there is no point going over old ground as those clubs are actually doing reasonably well now with good managers in place. “I have seven games left of a season now that one or two people thought we could make a run for the play-offs when we walked in here. “We are not in them yet. We sit two places off it but we have a big opportunity to bounce into them on Saturday.”

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Taft pressing for surprise Stags return against Exeter
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 30 March 2017

Centre half George Taft could be a surprise inclusion in Mansfield Town’s side for Saturday’s crunch home game with play-off rivals Exeter City. Taft has only played seven times all season and not been in the side since 10th September due to a hamstring injury. But the 6ft 5ins giant has stood out in training and a practice game this week to put himself into contention. The Stags were missing Krystian Pearce with an ankle injury last week with Kyle Howkins deputising.

But Pearce looks set to be fit this weekend to leave boss Evans with a central defensive headache.

“He has trained for a couple of days, so Krystian will be available,” said Evans.

“But George Taft played in a practice match on Monday and I thought he was outstanding.

“So from that point of view we have good options.

“Tafty is pressing to start - he’s been that good in the practice match and that good in training. But we’ll make an informed decision after training today and tomorrow.

“As I always do, I will sit down with the staff and pick what we think we have to do to win the game against a decent Exeter side. It may be a change of shape, a change of personnel.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/taft-pressing-for-surprise-stags-return-against-exeter-1-8467212

He added: “George is desperate to play. But I’ve got to separate that to look at a measurement across the three.

“Is Krystian fully 100 per cent? We have to take a judgement call when we sharpen our training work up.

“Kyle has trained really well too. But watching Tafty in training, he has really been a beacon of light.

“However, whether we want to put him into such a big game at this stage remains to be seen.

“But they are all big games now and he’s going to play in some of them, so it could be Saturday or it may be another one.

“Those three are all peas in a pod, all 6ft 3ins, big, strong, aggressive and attack the ball, but George is a bit different in that he’s naturally left-sided.

“If he trains in a sharp way today and tomorrow we have to make sure that sharpness says he is ready to play - if he is then we will consider one from three.”

Evans must also decide who will be back-up keeper. With Jake Kean starting at the moment, a fit-again Scott Shearer, after a virus last week, means he is back to challenge Brian Jensen.

“Scott is back around, so he should be good to go,” said Evans. “We’ll have a look at that. Brian Jensen has trained particularly well too.

“When we played Scott we left Brian out for a while. Then Jake came in and Brian wasn’t making the bench, but it was often a close call.

“Brian has sat on the bench for a couple of games now and we’ve won, so maybe why change it?”

Skipper Lee Collins should also be back in the squad. “Lee has trained for a couple of days so we’re almost on a full house,” said Evans.

“But Paddy Hoban will miss a little bit, he’s got a little bit of a strained knee.”

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Dropped points have cranked up the pressure for Exeter visit says Stags boss
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 30 March 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans said that huge ‘six-pointer’ games like Saturday’s visit of play-off rivals Exeter City underline how important dropped early season points become.

Evans has dragged the Stags away from relegation fears since his arrival in November and taken the club to within a point of the top seven - with the Grecians their target in seventh spot. But, despite the enormity of the game, Evans maintained the three points on offer was exactly as important as the three points on offer in each game in August and onwards. “It’s going to be really tough for us,” he said. Click HERE to read the Big Match Preview - all you need to know Click HERE to read Stags’ team news latest “This is a team that way back when they beat us in December I said would end up in the play-offs or fighting for it and I believed it. “The manager has had a big part to play in that and, more importantly, his recruitment. His players have been excellent for him. We’ve been playing catch-up. “Three points lost August, September, October prior to our arrival - they never come back. Even in November and December prior to us making the squad stronger, they never come back. They are gone forever.

“That’s why I have always spoken to my players at the start of a season about the three points on the opening day being absolutely crucial. People look at me as if I’m nuts.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/dropped-points-have-cranked-up-the-pressure-for-exeter-visit-says-stags-boss-1-8467399

“But nine promotions tells you that three points in August is the same as three points in March and April.”

Although fans are building up the importance of the match, Evans was maintaining a calm head while trying to keep the butterflies at bay.

It is being billed as the biggest game for the Stags in a long time, but Evans said: “Supporters will say that because that’s how they feel and I’m never one to knock them

“But we have to concentrate on the next League game, which is the biggest, which is Exeter.

“You do get nervous in the lead-up to the game. If you’re not then give the game up and go to Sainsbury’s on a Saturday afternoon.

“There will always be that little butterfly feeling when you start games. I get it when my team play reserve games.

“But when the game starts, exactly the same as players, the nerves go. Match officials are the same.”

He continued: “We are playing against a team full of good players, top players - with two or three of them in the team of the year - and a good manager who possibly could say he should be in contention for manager of the year himself.

“We always say in football that supporters can always dream and get excited, but we have to remain calm and put in the hard work.

“You do 99 per cent of your work on the training ground, then you are relying on those gifted young men - and we have a lot of gifted players in the dressing room and a lot of gifted staff at the club.

“But the supporters are going to play a big part on Saturday for me. We’re playing against a quality side, quality players, and the game will be on a knife-edge either way.

“There is a big prize for both which is to get into those play-offs. I know Exeter City are on the cusp of them now, but they are hanging in there as opposed to being really in them and we want to be really in them, as I’m sure Paul Tisdale does as well.”

Stags pushed City hard all the way before a 2-0 defeat in Devon in December and Evans recalled: “When you look at the 90 minutes, perhaps a draw would have been fair.

“In the first half we were totally out-played in fairness to Paul and his players. We could have been put to bed. It could have been a comfortable two or three - we hardly registered a striker on goal. “But second half was a role reversal. We absolutely dominated the game and missed chance after chance before we were sucker-punched in added time to make it 2-0. “You come away from that and think when we’ve been as poor as that in the first half, you’ve no right to get anything. though over the 90, you’d say a draw. “But they got the points largely based on that first half of the game when we should have been dead and buried.”

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Stags boss Evans setting the standards on wanted list

Although concentrating fully on the play-off race, Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans is building a wanted list for next season - with the players on it top end League One standard as a minimum. “I think about it every day, but it doesn’t mean you do anything,” he said. “You are adding people in every day as you go round watching lots of games. “We are just keeping focused. A lot will depend on what level we are at, League Two or One. “So things might slightly change, though not massively as, if you have to get out of League Two you have to sign top end League One or Championship players - that’s the strategy. “If you want to get out of League One you have to sign Championship players. You’re never going to get the Premier League boys. “If you look at the success Sheffield United have had this year, what has Chris Wilder done? He has just signed hard-working, honest lads who have a successful track record in League One.” But, as far as his talented loan players are concerned, he stressed he can do nothing about next season until he knows their futures in the summer. “I couldn’t care about it,” he said. “They’ve come here and signed until the end of the season. “Each of the loan players, particularly Shaq (Coulthirst), Hayden (White) and young Ben (Whiteman) have been absolutely terrific for us. “We will think about that at the end of the season. “We have to let them at the end of the season go and talk to their respective managers and permanent clubs and see where their future lies. “We are the last party to get involved in that. Of course we’d like to bring them here, but by the same token, we understand that the likes of Peterborough United and Sheffield United have to sit down with those boys and make some decisions.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-boss-evans-setting-the-standards-on-wanted-list-1-8467658

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Bennett buzzing for Exeter clash
mansfieldtown.net, 30th March 2017

Defender Rhys Bennett says he is excited to play in Saturday’s big game against Exeter City in the race for the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.

The former Bolton Wanderers man has been an ever-present for the Stags this season since his move from Rochdale last summer and has formed a solid partnership with Krystian Pearce at the centre of the Stags’ defence in recent months.

And the 25-year-old says the prospect of playing in matches such as the one against the Grecians on Saturday is what you want to play in as a footballer.

“It’s one of those games of football where you wake up on Saturday morning and think ‘yeah, I’m excited to play in this game’," Bennett said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/bennett-buzzing-for-exeter-clash-3649443.aspx#pgD1Yz4Jxt7yFTXM.99

“It should be a good game and this is what you want as a football player, these kind of games. [It’s] testament to the gaffer (Steve Evans) because he’s delivered these kind of games at this stage of the season so fair play to him and fair play to the boys for getting us in this position.

“I think every team in this league has got good players. If we match their good players and our good players come to the fore, I think we win the game."

Bennett has played every minute of all 47 games across all competitions for the Stags this season but he insists the most important thing is helping the Stags achieve their end goal.

“It’s good to obviously play games and get game time but we’re coming to the crunch time now and I feel that us as a club are coming into that period in good form and in good physical fitness.

“It’s obviously been nice to be selected but I’m just here to help the team. I don’t really think about personal accolades.

“My previous highest appearances [in a season] was 46 so I’ve actually beaten that now but hopefully as a team we can get promotion and I can think I’ve played a decent part in that.

“I just think that I’ve been physically fit, I had a good pre-season and I’ve managed to maintain a decent level of fitness and obviously you can’t play unless the gaffer picks you.”

With Stags being right in the mix for a spot in the end-of-season play-offs with seven games to go, Bennett believes Stags need to maintain their high performance levels.

“I think they’re all big games between now and the end of the season. I think Morecambe last Saturday was the biggest game of the season and now Exeter this Saturday is the biggest game of the season, so it’s important to leave it all on the football pitch and that’s all we can really do.

“It’s exciting to be involved [in]. Obviously we’re one point outside the play-offs so if we carry on our good form and our good performances, I’m sure no doubt we’ll finish inside the play-offs.”

To view Rhys Bennett’s full news conference, please login to Stags PlayerHD.

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New appearance record as Bennett remains Stags’ Mr Consistent
chad.co.uk

Mr Consistent Rhys Bennett broke his own personal record at Morecambe last weekend with his 47th appearance of the season - the only Mansfield Town player to play every minute of every game this season. But, far from jaded, he admits he is fighting fit and excited about the prospect of tomorrow’s visit of play-off rivals Exeter City. On his new appearance record, he said: “I hadn’t even thought about it too much. “Obviously it’s been nice to be selected, but I am just here to help the team. I don’t really think about personal accolades. Click HERE to read our Big Match Preview - all you need to know about Stags v Exeter “My previous highest appearances was 46 so I’ve actually beaten that now. Hopefully as a team now we can get promotion and I can think I played a decent part. “I have been physically fit. I had a good pre-season and managed to maintain a decent level of fitness. “And obviously you can’t play unless the gaffer picks you, so it’s testament to both gaffers. “Football is a team game and I am really privileged to play with some of these players on this team.” Bennett’s only disappointment is how many chances he has missed from set pieces. “I should really be in double figures,” he admitted. “I have managed three now and it would be nice to get a couple more before the end of the season. But it’s a team game and I just want to help the team get to their end goal. “It’s good to play games and get game time. But it’s coming to the crunch time now. I feel we are coming into that period in good form with good physical fitness.” On the visit of Exeter, Bennett said: “It’s one of those games of football where you wake up on Saturday morning and think - yeah, I am excited to play in this game. “It should be a good game. This is what you want as a football player - these kind of games and it’s testament to the gaffer as he has delivered these type of games at this stage of the season. Fair play to him and fair play to the boys for getting us into this position.” The game is being billed as one of the club’s biggest in a long time, and Bennett said: “It is a big game, but I think they are all big games from now until the end of the season. “Obviously Morecambe last Saturday was the biggest game of the season, and now obviously Exeter this Saturday is the biggest game of the season. “It is important to leave it all on the football pitch, that’s all we can really do. “Games like Morecambe are always banana skins. I think the gaffer highlighted the fact they’ve beaten a lot of the top teams at home this season. So that was a really important game for us to win.” Bennett recalls the 2-0 defeat at Exeter in December and said: “I actually think we should have won that game. We created a lot of chances, especially in the second half. “We don’t fear Exeter and we should be going into the game to win. “If we manage their good players and our good players come to the fore then I think we’ll win the game. “It’s exciting to be involved. We are only one point outside the play-offs, so if we carry on our good form and our good performances I have no doubt we’ll finish inside the play-offs.” It’s a far cry from when Evans arrived and all the talk was on survival. “We were 19th in the league but me, personally, I don’t think my mindset has ever been on relegation,” he said. “Even then we were six points outside the play-offs and that’s all I was thinking. “It is historically a really tight league. If you can put a string of results together you can go from bottom to play-offs as Stevenage have shown this year. “If you lose a couple you tend to go the other way. It’s good for teams that go forward with momentum - and that’s basically what we’ve done since November.” Boss Steve Evans said: “Rhys a fantastic character. “He’s played every minute under me as he deserves to play every minute and I am sure that was the same with Adam Murray prior to me. “He’s the right type. He’s a player that enthused coming into training. He wants to improve and I can’t give him any more compliments than to say we’ve kept him on the pitch for every minute of every game since we arrived. “His objective must be to start Saturday and makes sure he completes all the minutes in that game.” Bennett also found himself wearing the captain’s armband last week, underlining the impact he has made. “It was thoroughly deserved,” said Evans. “Obviously we were missing our skipper Lee Collins, and Krystian Pearce, who has been deputy for him since I’ve arrived. “So the next one we were looking for to follow was first and foremost a permanent Mansfield Town player and secondly someone whose characteristics are what leads us onto the pitch. Benno has been excellent so it was an easy decision.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/new-appearance-record-as-bennett-remains-stags-mr-consistent-1-8467671

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Preview: Mansfield Town v Exeter City
30th March 2017
by Simon Larkins
Tis: 'Players will relish promotion battle'

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says his players are going to relish the battle for a play-off place over the next five weeks following a season which has had plenty of moments of struggle.

The Grecians have had their fair share of problems this season with an injury crisis in the autumn effecting their start to the campaign and putting them bottom of the table at the end of November.

However, a 12-game unbeaten run, which included 10 victories, took them into play-off places and Tis says the players shouldn’t now be feeling the pressure going into Saturday’s game with Mansfield when you consider how far they have come.

“It is exciting,” he said. “If I take you back to the end November when we were bottom of the league, this is a pretty good situation to be in.

“So, we can choose to be stressed and anxious about it or we can enjoy it, march into it and make the most of it.

“I think we are going to do the latter. We have come through all sorts of things this year. We have had an injury crisis, we have been bottom of the league and all sorts of things have gone on and the squad has stuck together. The squad deserves this opportunity - an exciting end to the season - and why not us? Why not a place in the play-offs?”

Mansfield sit a point behind City in the table though and under Steve Evans they have lost just twice in 12 home games. Therefore, Tis is under no illusions that Saturday will be a big test.

“We are playing a really good team on Saturday, in Mansfield, who have got the same aspirations as us, but we just have to relish it,” he said. “Every game we play will be a big game from now on.
“It is League Two and every game is different. It is such a tight, absorbing league.

“However, since Steve Evans has taken over they (Mansfield) have become a very, very effective and productive team.

“They are strong at home and we just have to expect a really, really tough challenge. I have said this a couple of times, but I think they’ll be the dark horses - I really do.

“He (Steve) knows how to put a team together. He is no fool and I’m not surprised at all to see them challenging. They play very, very attacking and progressive football. They look a good team to me.”

City will also have to do without left-back Craig Woodman, who broke his arm in the 3-3 draw with Yeovil Town last time out.

The 34-year-old full-back has been one of the star performers for the Grecians this season and, following a good display at Cheltenham Town in December, Tis said that he was playing like German footballing legend Franz Beckenbauer.

He even joked that City’s full-back was doing so well that he could ‘play with a broken arm’, in a similar fashion to Beckenbauer when he led Germany to World Cup victory in 1970.

“Perhaps I won’t mention that next time,” smiled Tis. “However, he is as tough as old boots Craig, so I wouldn’t put it past him (the possibility of playing with a broken arm).

“I have rarely seen someone break their arm so clearly and, literally, not mutter a word. He is going to be out for a while. We don’t know how long.

“There could be a time when he, maybe, wears a splint - Gary Lineker-style in the World Cup - but I’m not sure what the rules are on that these days. Who knows what is possible, but for now he is out and he is going to be out for a while and we will have to use the squad.”

Read more at http://www.exetercityfc.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/preview-mansfield-town-v-exeter-city-3649750.aspx#As7PtIGDvI719Lx1.99

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Battered City patch up players for big game at Mansfield
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 30 March 2017

Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale admitted he will have to patch up one or two of his battered players to face Mansfield Town in Saturday’s big game at the One Call Stadium. City have struggled to pick up wins recently and their latest injury blow saw former Stag Craig Woodman break an arm against Yeovil last week while Jake Taylor, who took a blow to the shin in the game, is a doubt - arguably City’s two most consistent players this season. Click HERE to read our Big Match Preview - all you need to know Other key players David Wheeler, Reuben Reid and Lee Holmes are all trying to find full fitness after knocks and Tisdale said: “It’s that time in the season, you’ve just got to patch people up and get them out on the pitch. “Sometimes you have to compromise with the time you’d like to get the players on the training field. “The next couple of weeks will be a case of patching players up and getting your best players on the pitch as often as you can, and sometimes you have to modify the training. “Last week was just a step too far for them to start, I think, having missed all week I didn’t really want them to start the game and run out of steam early. “Each week we’ll take the injury situation on face value and try to keep the whole thing moving forward without putting the players in too much physical danger too often.” Tisdale is relishing the game with Stags able to leapfrog them with a victory. “It’s a big game and I think we always suspected this would happen,” he said. “Mansfield are a very strong outfit and they have been since Steve Evans took over. “They’ve certainly been working their way up the league and I think we always envisaged this would be a tough one and a vital game and it’s certainly turned out to be that. “We will certainly go up there expecting a team who’s going to challenge for the play-offs. “I think everyone’s well aware it’s a hugely important match, this one.” “We’ve got an opportunity to gain points for ourselves but also take points off Mansfield and that’s the bottom line. “We’ve got to keep going forward and not worry what’s behind us but look above us and keep ploughing on. “There’s a lot of football left - there’s 21 points left available and that’s a lot of points.” He added: “It’s not all about this Saturday, we know it’s important, but we have to play the game and not the league table, the situation or the outcome of the season. “We’ve got to play the game in front of us, minute-by-minute and try and play on instinct and sensibly. “They understand the importance of the game but they have to focus on playing their part in the team performance. “That is the focus we have to maintain - the more tangible each result becomes in terms of league outcome, the easier it is to be distracted by the league table. “We have to remain focus and trust in what we do and just play the game - it’s a lot easier to say it but that is what we have to do.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/battered-city-patch-up-players-for-big-game-at-mansfield-1-8467533

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