EVANS ON BIDS + CREWE PREVIEWS
Crewe line-up cemented in gaffer's mind
mansfieldtown.net, 3 Aug 2017
Stags' boss Steve Evans has decided which players will be handed a starting place in Saturday's season opener against Crewe Alexandra.
The Stags are set for battle ahead of Saturday's big kick-off following a pre-season at One Call Stadium which has sparked a new sense of anticipation and excitement around the Town of Mansfield.
Boss Steve Evans has made a number of outstanding signings, with 13 new recruits added to the squad to date, whilst 11 left the club following the conclusion of 2016/17 campaign.
And in addition to already knowing his starting team, the gaffer has also decided on who will wear the captain's armband this season.
"We'll tell the starting team around lunch-time on Saturday at the team hotel. We always have a team meeting and we'll tell them then and the boys on the bench will be told at the stadium," the manager said.
"I have decided [who will be captain] but we'll tell the players tomorrow morning before we train. There's three or four protagonists for that role, it's not just one. Zander (Diamond) has captained us of course and Rhys (Bennett) has captained us and so has Ando (Paul Anderson), but we'll tell the players first.
"[The captain's] role is to be your person in the dressing room and on the pitch, but it doesn't necessarily have to mean he's going to play every game. People have this myth that if you name a captain, he gets a shirt every game and it's nonsense.
"You have to pick a team to win a game and that's why you have a captain and we'll probably announce a captain and two vice captains on the basis that one of those three will play unless there's injuries or suspensions."
The former Leeds United boss has everyone available apart from winger Alex MacDonald for Saturday's fixture and also admitted that he believes Crewe will do well in the upcoming season.
"We have all except Alex MacDonald to pick from and when you mention that, Alex is getting fitter everyday and we'll miss him at Crewe but he'll be back soon.
"I think he's got a real chance for Forest Green at home. The wee man's working incredibly hard. He looks absolutely terrific and he's a big player for us. He's a big player going forward and we want the wee fella back.
"Rhys (Bennett) will train today, we've got no issues with Rhys. He was with the boys on Tuesday and did really well and he's back on the grass today.
"The one thing that Crewe have got are good players, and good players win games. They've got Dave Artell who is making his way in his management career - a former Stag - he's a good guy.
"I've seen them and Paul's (Raynor) seen them and we both think they'll do very well because they've got that attention to detail and that aggression from the manager and they've got very talented footballers."
After revealing earlier this week that Stags have had a bid accepted for an un-named striker, the gaffer insisted that he is interested in players other than those who have been reported in the media recently.
"People see us linked to one particular striker and if they think that we're only linked to one striker or trying to get one striker then they're mistaken.
"We're talking to two or three clubs at the minute. I'm very, very fortunate that the chairman (John Radford) wants this to happen in terms of us strengthening it a little bit further when you look at what others have done last week.
"The chief executive (Carolyn Radford) is adamant she wants to do it and that's fantastic when you're the manager because up the line they want to do it."
One player who Stags have been heavily linked with in the media is 23-year-old Scunthorpe United frontman Tom Hopper.
"We've had a chat with Scunthorpe but we're not quite there, contrary to media reports we're there - we're not. We're trying but it's not just young Tom [Hopper]; he's a good player but there's one or two others that we're particularly keen on and even late last night we were on the phone trying to make one of them happen."
Supporters can watch the manager's full news conference by logging in to iFollow Stags.
Evans could bring in more signings as Stags prepare for big kick-off
chad.co.uk, Thursday 03 August 2017
Stags boss Steve Evans says there could be two or three more additions to his squad before the transfer window closes.
Mansfield head to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday for their opening League Two fixture, with many bookies having made Stags favourites to win the title this season.
And despite several new arrivals over the summer, Evans says more may follow, with Scunthorpe’s Tom Hopper currently being strongly linked with a move to the One Call Stadium.
Evans said: “We’re talking to two or three clubs at the minute. I’m very lucky, the chairmman and chief executive want us to strengthen.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-could-bring-in-more-signings-as-stags-prepare-for-big-kick-off-1-8684790
“We’ve had a chat with Scunthorpe about Tom Hopper but we’re not quite there. He’s a good player but he’s not the only one we’re looking at.”
Evans says he will announce to his players who will start Saturday’s game just ahead of the fixture, but couldn’t hide his excitement about the season finally getting underway.
He said: “We’ll tell the starting team around lunchtime on Saturday at the team hotel. We always have a team meeting and we’ll tell them then and the boys on the bench will be told at the stadium.
“I’ve also decided on the captain but we’ll tell the players tomorrow morning. There’s three or four protagonists for the job.
“It’s not just one. Zander Diamond has captained us of course and so have Rhys Bennett and Paul Anderson, but we’ll tell the players first.
“The opening day is an exciting time. I love to see the players’ and fans’ coaches up and down the motorway.”
Evans was also complimentary towards Saturday’s hosts, with the Scot believing they have a good chance of challenging for promotion.
He said: “Crewe have got good players and good players win games. “They’ve got Dave Artell who is making his way in his management career - a former Stag - he’s a good guy.
“I’ve seen them and Paul (Raynor) has seen them and we both think they’ll do very well because they’ve got that attention to detail and that aggression from the manager and they’ve got very talented footballers.”
In terms of team news for Saturday, Evans added that only Alex MacDonald is expected to be a key absentee.
He said: “We have all except Alex to pick from. He is getting fitter everyday and we’ll miss him at Crewe but he’ll be back soon.
“I think he’s got a real chance for Forest Green at home. He’s working incredibly hard. He looks absolutely terrific and he’s a big player for us. He’s a big player going forward and we want the wee fella back.”
Steve Evans: Mansfield Town manager embraces being League Two favourites
Manager Steve Evans says Mansfield Town will not be "hiding behind a bush" and playing down their promotion ambitions.
The Stags, who face Crewe in their League Two opener on Saturday, are the bookies' favourites to go up having signed 13 players this close season.
Evans, 54, told BBC East Midlands Today his summer business had been very good.
"We have mainly recruited from a higher level. Lads that have done the distance and been successful. And those same lads will win us promotion," he said.
"Someone has to be favourites. We have been able to put a competitive squad together.
"We have moved 11 players on and have brought in a similar number. That's been good."
Evans was eager to get assurances and financial backing from owner John Radford in the summer after narrowly missing out on the play-offs last season.
A host of summer signings have brought great optimism, with strikers Lee Angol and Jimmy Spencer and midfielder Paul Anderson among the new arrivals.
If Evans wins promotion it would the 10th time he has done so during his managerial career. Being made title favourites is not something the experienced Scottish boss fears.
"We have never hidden from it," he said. "I see all these managers hiding behind bushes.
"We have said we want to win promotion and we will do what we can, but we recognise every step of the way how difficult it will be.
"It is a really competitive division this year, but our aim is to be in the top group."
Byrom relishing competition for places
mansfieldtown.net, 3 Aug 2017
Midfielder Joel Byrom believes Stags have the 'perfect competition' within the squad to ensure the players keep standards high.
After 11 players departed One Call Stadium at the end of last season, boss Steve Evans strengthened his group with 13 signings of high quality, with at least two players capable of playing every position.
And with the season opener against Crewe Alexandra under 48 hours away, former Northampton Town midfielder Byrom has lauded the competition for places in the Stags' dressing room.
"There's competition all over the pitch. The manager's got a really tough decision to make at the weekend, he's got to pick players for every position really.
"I don't think anyone's nailed down so it's just got to be what the manager goes off at the weekend and then those lads who aren't in the team have got to be pushing the lads in the team and I think that competition is perfect for a good season.
"If you do get the shirt at the weekend - if you're lucky enough - it's up to you to keep the shirt and I think the manager has always been good with the fact that if you play well you keep your shirt and if you're struggling for form or you pick up and injury and you find yourself out the team, it's not going to be easy to get back in it.
"Obviously there's the lads from last year and then the lads who the manager's brought in and there's a lot of lads who have played a lot of football at higher levels.
"Especially last year, where a lot of the signings he's made played a lot of football at League One level so it's brought the standard up in training and the pre-season's obviously gone well with results and plenty of goals for the boys."
The 30-year-old is now excited for the season to get underway after a tough pre-season but he is under no illusions as to what's in store over the next 10 months.
"It's nice to be thought of as favourites but I've played in League Two for a long time now and you know that it's a hard slog for 10 months and every single point you play for is massive at the end of the season.
"We've got 20-odd players in the squad now and they're all going to play a massive part because League Two is a slog."
Stags are expected to take around 1,000 supporters to Crewe on Saturday and Byrom has praised his experience of the fans since joining the club.
"The fans have always been brilliant, home and away, and they'll be there in force on Saturday and hopefully cheering us on to a win at Crewe.
"It's always a tough place to go, Crewe. Crewe are always technically very good footballers. I know a few of the boys there and they'll be exactly the same as us - pushing themselves for a win and getting off to a good start."
Supporters can view Joel Byrom's full news conference by logging in to iFollow Stags.
Byrom’s raring to go ahead of season opener
chad.co.uk, Thursday 03 August 2017
Joel Byrom says that Mansfield Town’s new players have gelled together well over the summer, and that the whole squad is looking forward to the upcoming campaign.
The Stags get underway at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday where several new players will pull on the amber shirts for the first time in a competitive game.
And midfielder Byrom can’t wait to get started.
He said: “When you finish the season in May, the start of the next season is what you then look forward to.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/byrom-s-raring-to-go-ahead-of-season-opener-1-8685311
“Pre-season is all about getting your fitness back and all of the new lads have gelled well with the older lads.
“We’ve lots of new signings but I think competition is so healthy for squads at all levels and I don’t think anyone’s place is nailed down.
“If you are lucky enough to get the shirt at the weekend then you’ve got to perform to keep it.”
Stags are bookies favourites to win League Two but Byrom knows that means nothing at this stage.
He said: “It’s nice to be thought of as favourites but I’ve played in League Two for a long time and it’s a long ten-month slog.
“We’ve just got to start by going to Crewer full of confidence and put our mark on the game. The fans have always been brilliant both home and away and they’ll be there in force on Saturday.”