EVANS: BIG BID FROM CONF REJECTED
Stags can achieve glory this season - Evans
mansfieldtown.net, 2nd February 2017
Stags’ boss Steve Evans says the club’s business in the January transfer window has massively increased their chances of finishing the season in the Sky Bet League Two top seven.
The boss brought in a total of eight players during January, including the Deadline Day acquisitions of attacking midfielder Alfie Potter and winger Alex MacDonald.
He has also balanced the books, with seven heading out the door, including the loan of Kevan Hurst to National League club Guiseley.
And the gaffer believes that the added quality improves the Stags' chances of a top-seven finish ‘one million percent’ but admits they’ll need a bit of luck along the way.
“We can certainly achieve [promotion] and we’re going to need a little bit of luck along the way. Sir Bobby Robson once told me: ‘to be a good manager, you need to be lucky, son’ and those words have always stuck by me,” the Stags’ chief said.
“I’ve been fortunate in my career. You don’t win nine promotions by not being lucky; you have to have a little bit of luck but what comes with that is hard work and determination, the ability to put a team together through individuals and having a spirit in the dressing rooms that’s about us.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boss-pleased-with-january-dealings-3551799.aspx#lOAOsjsmICoJTF2T.99
“We’ve not brought any superstars in who automatically will play, that’s not been the case here. We’ve just increased the quality and what we’ve seen with that is some players that I inherited, some good players, suddenly their levels have come up and they have [to continue] to come up if they want to play a part here.”
The former Leeds United boss secured the deals for former Northampton Town man Potter and Oxford United winger MacDonald on Deadline Day, however a third addition escaped his grasp and the manager has revealed that the club couldn’t agree personal terms with the Championship player in question.
“The chairman (John Radford) and chief executive (Carolyn Radford) were prepared and put in an offer, in writing, that completely smashed the record here for buying a player.
“We just couldn’t get there in personal terms and try as we may, it was difficult. We have a structure in the dressing room that we want to keep to and that’s of paramount importance to me.
“We withdrew from that about 7.30 in the evening. It was disappointing because he was a young player and he would’ve been top class, but we couldn’t get it over the line.”
Looking ahead to the trip to Barnet on Saturday, the boss says he is expecting a challenging match against a Bees’ side who currently sit just one point above the Stags in Sky Bet League Two.
“They’ve got some wonderful players. People like John Akinde who’s big and strong [and] gets a goal. Of course John played for me at Crawley; he’s a great lad, I’ve not seen him for a while so it’ll be good to catch up. It’s going to be tough.
“They’re an incredibly hard-working side, I watched their full game at Carlisle last week and they were most impressive. They went down to 10 men and still should’ve beaten Carlisle.
“It’s a good game for both teams to be involved in, both teams are in good form and it’s a nice place to go and play your football. It will be a difficult game on Saturday but it’s a game we look forward to.”
Stags will still be without defenders George Taft and Kyle Howkins for the trip to The Hive Stadium, however the gaffer is expecting them to return within 10 days and believes both players will be like 'having new signings'.
“The transfer deadline’s come and gone but we’ve got two new signings next week, which others won’t have - that’s what they are for us.
“We just got Howkins back playing the way we’d like him to play after three or four consecutive games and the big fellow put in a smashing tackle, a great centre-back’s tackle and unfortunately twisted himself up.
“ We liked [Taft] as a player when we watched him at Burton and of course he can play centre-back and he can play left-back. He’s a big asset to us when he gets fit and he’s worked incredibly hard behind the scenes, as Kyle has.”
Supporters can view manager Steve Evans’ news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.
Wages the stumbling block as Stags miss out on club record transfer
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 02 February 2017
Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans today revealed the club missed out on a promising Championship striker, despite having a club record transfer bid accepted, less than four hours from Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Evans said the deal finally fell through at 7.30pm when they were unable to agree wages, but he added it was a target they may chase again in the summer, particularly were the Stags to gain promotion to League One.
Evans did sign Alec MacDonald and Alfie Potter from the three targets he had spoken of earlier in the day, but on the one that got away, he said: “We couldn’t agree personal terms.
“The chairman and the chief executive were prepared and put in writing an offer that would have completely smashed the club’s transfer record for buying a player.
“But we just couldn’t get there on personal terms. Try as we may, it was difficult.
“We have a structure in the dressing room that we want to keep to. That is of paramount importance to me.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/wages-the-stumbling-block-as-stags-miss-out-on-club-record-transfer-1-8367672
“The chairman thankfully gives me a lot of control. With that comes responsibility and I had to make the decision that, for the sake of the whole squad, we couldn’t have someone on something way above the parapet in terms of earnings.
“So we withdrew from that about 7.30 in the evening.”
Evans continued: It was disappointing because he was a young player and would have been top class. But we just couldn’t get it over the line.
“Maybe we will revisit it in the summer? Who knows? If we got promotion it would sit more comfortably in terms of the earning power. But that’s a long way off - thinking about promotion when we are just trying to focus on Saturday at Barnet.”
While not revealing the player’s name, Evans said of him: “This was a younger player in the Championship. He has been in and out of the team at Championship level.
“I have watched him for a while. I can remember watching him last season in the Championship when I was at Leeds and thinking he could be a proper player.
“He has just gone out of the side in recent times and thankfully John Radford came forward once again and showed the colour of his money.
“We made an offer, and we had to make a second offer which was accepted. But when they are coming from the Championship, even if they are young men, they earn a lot of money, and it just wasn’t going to sit comfortably.
“Let me make it clear - the chairman wanted to do it. “But he does leave the footballing decisions to me and managing the dressing room and my feelings were that would have taken the pay scale out of kinder in the dressing room. So I didn’t want to do that.
“I am not saying everyone earns pound for pound in there. But we need value for money in there and everyone to believe that everyone is at some sort of level of parity. That’s where it just fell. I just didn’t feel right.”
Now Evans is happy to see what the summer brings.
“We had a terrific meeting with the lad and his advisers and we all said on both sides that we might revisit it in the summer,” he said.
“I see he’s going to be in his club’s squad at the weekend and his club may say in the summer he’s not for sale or the terms might be different, but I think they were just looking to get some cash in as they were doing some business themselves.”
Stags turn down bid for player from National League club
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 02 February 2017
Mansfield Town turned down a significant bid for one of their first team players yesterday from a Vanarama National League club.
Boss Steve Evans also revealed he refused three offers for players earlier in the week, though admitted a couple of other fringe players could still go out on loan if they want more game time.
Although the January transfer window closed on Tuesday, National League sides are not bound by the same rules and can still take players in.
“We had two or three offers come in and we had a significant bid yesterday from a club in the National League to sign one of our players, but that has been refused as well,” said Evans.
“We had three players that commanded a lot of attention on deadline day and the day before, but we refused them. They were never going to happen as the players are part of our plans here.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-turn-down-bid-for-player-from-national-league-club-1-8368048
“But we have offered one or two players an opportunity to go and get some football, they will make their decisions on what they want to do over the next few days.”
He added: “They will go out with our blessing if they do. But if they stay they will be competing.
“They are good honest lads and we trust them.
“We are just looking at game time and we feel one or two might be lacking opportunities to get on the pitch. We have to be open and honest with them.”
Relief as Potter deal delays left Stags sweating
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 02 February 2017
Steve Evans said he was delighted to land Alfie Potter and Alex MacDonald on transfer deadline day this week - but he admitted delays to the Potter deal left him sweating.
The Mansfield Town boss had to cancel a planned scouting trip to Luton v Cheltenham to make sure the deal got over the line and said: “I left the reserve game and came back to the One Call Stadium. Everything was agreed and the kid had signed his contract.
“But, of course, you have to wait on the medical as you do with every player.
“But the consultant and the specialists were particularly busy - it’s not just Mansfield Town that use these guys, you’ve got all the clubs locally from Forest and County to the Sheffield clubs and Chesterfield. Everyone is trying to get these guys’ time to make sure the scan reports say you are good to go and you’re clear.
“We were probably done around 4pm but we couldn’t do any more.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/relief-as-potter-deal-delays-left-stags-sweating-1-8368180
“Without the clearance from the medical side, the contract can’t be registered.”
He added: “The kid had signed and gone off to his hotel. But it was about half past eight when we got the news it was all good to go and we could announce it.
“It got more nervous as time went on as you were waiting on the medical side. Thankfully we had players that went though with flying colours.”
On the new pair, he said: “They are winners aren’t they?
“They are both technically excellent, but they both work so hard for the team. That’s always the criteria we’ve tried to adopt as a management team.
“The first thing is we need players who will work hard. If you add that to technical ability and we get them razor fit then we get two guys who have won promotions and two top class players.”
Evans was never in doubt they would improve the squad on Tuesday as he and assistant Paul Raynor saw lots of homework pay off.
He said: “We never woke up like some managers on transfer deadline day and thought who shall we sign or who can we sign as we’ve lost out on this one?
“We have been working on Alfie Potter and Alex MacDonald for days, two or three weeks with Alfie, as you have to get an agreement between three parties.”
That made it eight players in over January, though seven have gone out too with possibly more to follow on loans.
“We’ve tried to balance it,” said Evans.
“When we came in the chairman gave me an opportunity to re-write the squad if you like.
“It didn’t need that. It just some quality and some help.
“We’ve not brought any superstars in that will automatically play. We have just increased the quality.
“What we’ve seen with that is that I have inherited some good players that suddenly their levels have come up. That has to happen if they want to play a part.
“We’ve signed eight players and they will all play a part - some more than others as it always the case.”
New Stags duo could start, despite unbeaten run
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 02 February 2017
Despite Mansfield Town having picked up a maximum six points from their last two League Two games, manager Steve Evans said he might still pick one or both of his new signings for Saturday’s tough trip to Barnet.
Evans signed midfielder Alfie Potter from Northampton and winger Alex MacDonald from Oxford on deadline day this week and Evans said they could come into the reckoning for a start at The Hive.
“You always pick who you think should play,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me whether they’ve been in the club a day, a week or a month.
“If you think they’ve got something to give they’ll be in the 18.
“Do they make the starting XI? That’s what we are going to work on today and tomorrow, then we’ll take a fresh approach as we always do.
Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/new-stags-duo-could-start-despite-unbeaten-run-1-8368201
“We have won the two games but it doesn’t mean we’ve been overly impressed with every individual’s performances in those two games.
“The most important thing is that the team wins.”
Barnet sit two places and one point above the Stags in eighth and Evans said: “I have seen a great turnaround there.
“They have obviously changed managers. Martin Allen went off to the Conference National and they they changed things and moved out one or two players.
“But they have spent some money and have a great chairman in Tony Kleanthous - he’s a man I have known for many years - and he is the real reason Barnet compete at the level they do, as he puts so much money in.
“They have some wonderful players, people like John Akinde, who is big and strong and gets a goal. Of course, John played for me at Crawley. He is a great lad and I’ve not seen him for a while so it will be good to catch up.”
Evans continued: “We know it’s going to be tough. They are incredibly hard-working. I have watched their full game from Carlisle last week and they were most impressive. “They went down to 10 men and should have still beaten Carlisle. We know how tough it is to go to Carlisle.
“I think they are still a direct side. When you have someone like Akinde you are going to be that way.
“But I think there is now a tendency to play a little bit more across the middle than what they have done previously.
“And they maybe have a little bit more athleticism in their team than what they had previously.”
The manager concluded: “They are a dangerous side and on the verge of the play-offs themselves. So it’s a good game for both teams to be involved in.
“But teams are in good form, and it’s a nice place to go and play your football.
“I have never taken a team there other than to train in preparation for other games. I took Leeds United there a couple of times.
“It’s a difficult game on Saturday but one we are looking forward to. When you’re playing the way the boys are playing I’m sure you’d like to play every day.”
The Stags begin February six games unbeaten, having lost only once in January - a Checkatrade Trophy defeat by Wycombe.
“I now want another January,” smiled Evans. “I think the dressing room is finding it becomes infectious. You want to win another game.
“It’s no secret. Some of the new players we’ve recruited are all champions in their own right.
“I keep hearing Jose Mourinho describing himself as a champion. These guys were champions more recently than any of us. You try to surround yourself with successful people.
“You want players who work incredibly hard and who have a know-how how to win promotion. That’s massively important.”
Stags can make play-offs but Evans hoping on Lady Luck to help
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Stags boss Steve Evans is convinced his new-look side have what it takes to make the play-offs - but admits they will need a slice of luck along the way.
Stags head down to Barnet tomorrow to try to keep a six game unbeaten League run going and Evans said: “We can certainly achieve that, but we are going to need a little bit of luck along the way.
“Sir Bobby Robson told me ‘to be a good manager you need to be lucky son’, and those words have always stuck by me.
“I have been fortunate in my career. You don’t win nine promotions by not being lucky.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-can-make-play-offs-but-evans-hoping-on-lady-luck-to-help-1-8368393
“You have to have a bit of luck, but that has to be alongside hard work, determination and the ability to put a team together through individuals. You need a spirit in the dressing room that is us and them.
“It’s going to be tough. You saw a mixture of results the other night and I don’t think many would have predicted Cheltenham beating Luton.
“Have we given ourselves a chance with the quality we’ve brought in? One million per cent.”
Even at this stage of the season, Evans feels it may be too late for a top three finish with some many points having gone awry before he took over.
“We can finish in the play-offs for sure. I think maybe the top three has already gone,” he said.
“I have always maintained since I came in, three points in August or September is as vital as three points in February or March. Once they are in the bank, they are there forever.
“We have a terrific group and with the new pair we’ve signed there is an instant feeling in the dressing room that we have strengthened again.
“We’ll win together, we’ll lose together, we’ll keep it on a level.
“There will be weeks Stags fans will think we are going to get into that top seven easily and other weeks they will be thinking it’s all over.
“But what I have learned in some of the success we had at Rotherham United, I think we were 12th/13th in the table in the middle of February and went up in second. That’s how quickly things can happen if you get on a roll and can win some games.
“Certainly what we’ve got assembled here is good enough to win a lot of games.”
Steve Evans can’t wait to have Taft and Howkins ready for selection again
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Boss Steve Evans says the imminent return of injured defenders George Taft and Kyle Howkins feels like two new signings for Mansfield Town.
Taft played just seven games for the club after joining from Burton in the summer before his hamstring went against Barnet on 10th September.
Howkins has played 17 times for Stags since joining on loan from West Brom. And with Mansfield already having significantly strengthened during the transfer window, Evans cannot wait to beef up his defensive options even further.
“Obviously Tafty and Kyle Howkins are about a week away now, so that’s great news,” he said.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/steve-evans-can-t-wait-to-have-taft-and-howkins-ready-for-selection-again-1-8369050
“The transfer deadline has come and gone, but we’ve got two new signings next week which others won’t have. And that’s what they are for us.
“We just got Howkins back playing the way we’d like him to play after three or four consecutive games and the big fellow then got in a smashing tackle, a great centre back’s tackle, but unfortunately twisted himself up.
“But he about a week away.
“Tafty, we’ve always liked. We loved him as a player when we watched him at Burton. Of course he can play centre back or left back and he’s a big asset to us when he gets fit.
“He was worked incredibly hard behind the scenes, as Kyle has, and in a week to 10 days time we’ll have two new signings in that pair.”
Stags face Barnet on Saturday in a battle of the play-off rivals. New signings Alfie Potter and winger Alex MacDonald could come into the reckoning for a start at The Hive.
Kean credits defence for run of clean sheets
mansfieldtown.net, 2nd February 2017
After keeping four clean sheets in five Sky Bet League Two fixtures during January, goalkeeper Jake Kean says the majority of recognition should go to the players in front of him.
The 25-year-old shot-stopper joined the club on loan until the end of the season at the beginning of January and Stags have conceded just one league goal since his arrival.
And although he is humbled by individual plaudits, Kean says his job has been made easier by the watertight back four in front of him.
“From watching the lads against Doncaster, they looked a solid defensive unit so it was always going to be very easy coming in and slotting in behind KP [Krystian Pearce] and whoever he was playing with,” Kean said.
“I think a lot of credit has to go to the lads in front of me because if you look at Leyton Orient, I don’t think I had anything to do, other than a lot of kicking.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/kean-praises-defence-for-run-of-clean-sheets-3552513.aspx#JW8WSDMoyurhVop1.99
“I’m part of it but as the last line of defence and like I said before, more credit should go to the lads in front of me just because of how they’ve defended and really they’ve made it easy for me.”
The former Norwich City goalkeeper is one of eight signings which manager Steve Evans has brought to the club over the last month and he says the atmosphere in the dressing room has allowed all new additions to settle in effortlessly.
“It looks like the lads have gelled really well. I’ve settled in really well but I think that starts in the dressing room - it’s just a good laugh.
“The lads get on with each other, laughing and joking, some of the lads go out for meals and coffees and things like that. It makes it easier for us all to work for a collective goal.
“We’re on a high. We’ve done really well in January, aside from that one defeat in the cup, and there’s a lot of belief.
“You’ve just got to look at the lads that the manager’s signed; they all know the division, they all know how to get out of the division and I think there’s starting to be a bit of belief that we can go and knock on the door of the play-offs.”
Since joining the club, Kean has been ever-present between the sticks but says he is pushed to his limits each day in training by experienced goalkeeping duo Scott Shearer and Brian Jensen.
“Him (Scott Shearer) and Bri (Brian Jensen), I’ve never seen two people work as hard as they do. I know that I’ve got to keep performing to the levels I know I can do, because if I don’t, then Scotty or Bri will be straight back in.
“They’re very experienced and they know more about football than I do at the minute. If I can pick up on little different bits and bobs and techniques or drills or anything like that, they’ve made it really easy for me. To be fair, it’s one of the best groups, in terms of goalkeeping groups, that I’ve worked in.”
Supporters can view Jake Kean’s full news conference by logging in to Stags PlayerHD.
Kean praises Stags defence after fine first month on loan
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Jake Kean may have only conceded one League goal in his five League Two games for Mansfield Town so far.
But the Sheffield Wednesday loanee said equal praise has to go to the watertight defence in front of him.
As Stags head south to Barnet for their first game of February tomorrow, the 25-year-old said: “From watching the lads against Doncaster they looked a solid defensive unit, so it was always going to be very easy coming in and slotting behind KP (Krystian Pearce) and whoever he is playing with.
“A lot of the credit has got to go to the lads in front of me. If you look against Leyton Orient I don’t think I had anything to do other than a lot of kicking.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/kean-praises-stags-defence-after-fine-first-month-on-loan-1-8368684
“I am obviously part of it but I am there as a last line of defence and more credit should go to the lads in front of me because of how they’ve defended. Really they have made it easy for me.”
Kean began his Stags career with four clean sheets in a row and puts the excellent defensive record down to the organisation provided by boss Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor.
“It has a lot to do with the manager and Raynesy for how they are setting us up and the work they and we put in Monday to Friday,” he said.
“It’s working and the lads are responding well to it on the training pitch and taking it into the games.
“Training is intense. Obviously with a lot of new faces coming in, the lads that have come in feel they’ve got a lot to prove with how we’ve been doing. And the lads that are in the team want to stay in the team.
“You look at Greeny (Matt Green) and Yoann (Arquin) who have done really well the last couple of games when they’ve come on, it’s just a really good work ethic at the minute.”
Kean is one eight new faces in the January window and he said everyone was getting on well off the field which has helped on it.
“It looks like the lads have gelled really well,” he said. “I have settled in really well. But that starts in the dressing room.
“It’s a good laugh - the lads get on with each other. We have a laugh and a joke, we go out for meals and coffees, it makes it easier for us all to work for a collective goal. “Obviously we are on a high. We’ve done really well in January aside from that one defeat in the cup. “There is a lot of belief. You have only got to look at the lads the manager has signed - they all know the division and how to get out of it.
“There is starting to be a bit of belief we can actually go and knock on the door of the play-offs.
“Probably Cambridge away was the pick of the month. We went a goal down, then got back into it fortunately.
“At half-time we had a little chat with each other and second half the performance was probably one the best since I’ve been here.”
So far Kean is getting everything he could have wished for out of his loan spell.
He said: “I’ve had game time. I am getting individual plaudits as well as collective. It’s gone as well as I could have hoped so far.”
From day to day he is also getting to learn from experienced Stags keepers Scott Shearer and Brian Jensen, who are both on standby to replace him if he drops his standards. “Scott and Brian, I have never seen two people work as hard as they do,” said Kean. “I know I have to keep performing to the levels I know I can do as, if I don’t, then Scotty or Brian will be straight back in. “I am learning a lot from them. They are very experienced and know more about football than I do at the minute. They’ve made it really easy for me and I want to pick up on little bits and bobs, techniques or drills. “It is one of the best goalkeeping groups I have worked in.”
Already Kean can sense there could be something very special ahead at the end of the season. “I feel very confident,” he said.
“With the performances we put in last month when we’ve gone a goal down or gone ahead and consolidated that, we’ve shown we’ve really got nothing to fear as it stands. “We can go as far as we want to. As long as the lads keep believing in that and we’ve got that hunger to keep driving forward then there’s no reason why we can’t get in the play-offs.”
On tomorrow’s opposition Barnet, he added: “It will be a tough game.
“Obviously they are a couple of points in front of us, but like any other game we have to go there and do our thing and not worry about who we are playing.”
Latest | February 2017