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10th April 2017 21:14


Gaffer lauds prospective new training facility
mansfieldtown.net, 6th April 2017

After planning permission was granted earlier this week, Stags’ boss Steve Evans has dubbed the club’s prospective new training facility as ‘wonderful’ for the town of Mansfield.

The multi-purpose sports facility will include three full-sized grass pitches, a mini-pitch and a full 3G floodlit pitch, in addition to eight dressing rooms and a main pavilion.

And the gaffer believes the new facility will be a huge boost to the town, and also praised owner John Radford and chief executive Carolyn Radford for their generosity in funding the project.

“I don’t think people in the town realise how important that decision is. First and foremost, thank you for the council for passing it," the manager said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/gaffer-lauds-prospective-new-training-facility-3661304.aspx#tCoturgkJUC7khum.99

“It’s wonderful for the football club. The football club is such a major part of the community of Mansfield and such a major part of the town.

“For our kids and our futures, it’s a facility that they’ll have many hours of pleasure at and let’s hope it produces one or two Stags’ youngsters or Mansfield, as a town, youngsters, that might end up playing in the Premier League.

“You need someone to pay for it. We’re very fortunate that we’ve got John and Carolyn Radford. They can afford to say ‘we want to build something and we’re going to pay for it’.

“I know there’s some supportive grants and some initiatives to help with that, but the principal funding comes from two people.

“[They’re] a wealthy family but it has to be said a very generous family. They’re not only generous to this football club - I spend a lot of time with them, I’m absolutely flabbergasted with what they give to charity.”

Shifting focus to Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash away at Doncaster Rovers, the manager is among to spoil a potential promotion party at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Rovers will be promoted if they win on Saturday, regardless of results elsewhere in the division and if they draw, they will be promoted if fourth placed Stevenage fail to win. A defeat for the league leaders could also see them promoted, but both Stevenage and fifth-placed Luton Town would also need to lose.

“We have a way that we need to play on Saturday to win the game. It’s going to be tough for us, we don’t kid ourselves. They’ll have lots of the ball so we need to make the most of our opportunities when we’ve got the ball.

“We need to, first and foremost, defend properly when we’re out of possession, and when we‘re in possession, we’ve dominated most if not every game since the turn of the year.

“We’ve not always had the results that the performances deserve but we now need to go and put in another one of those decent performances and hope in the end of that comes the result that merits those efforts.

“It’s a great game for us to be involved in. We know that the prize for us is to stay in contention for the play-offs, and the prize for Doncaster Rovers is to be promoted to League One.”

The gaffer says he will assess his squad today and tomorrow and is hopeful of having right-back Hayden White and striker Yoann Arquin available for selection after their respective hamstring and groin injuries.

“We’ll look at all the lads today and tomorrow. We’ve got different options, we’ve got different permutations. Yoann will be back in the group, we’ll look at Hayden and we’ll see where we go.

“I think the first thing to be said is for 55-60 minutes on Saturday, George Taft was exceptional, I think he was outstanding in spells.

“When you’re 6ft 4in/6ft 5in, and you’ve not played for a while, it takes its toll when you get into the heat of the battle.

“Tafty’s very much in our thoughts, but so is Kyle [Howkins]. Kyle came on and did well, I’ve got no problem if Rhys goes back in and plays central defensively, he’s played every minute.

“If Hayden comes back in at full-back, it gives us a more natural look but we’ll have a look at Hayden and probably Hayden being fit will make us decide what we’re going to do.”

Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s full news conference.

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Underdogs Mansfield head for Doncaster promotion party with no fear
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 06 April 2017

Underdogs Mansfield Town head to Doncaster Rovers for Saturday’s derby with no fear and nothing to lose, says manager Steve Evans. Stags can spoil the party, but Evans said the ideal outcome of the day would be a Mansfield win with other results still conspiring to confirm Rovers’ promotion. Stags’ first ever visit to the Keepmoat Stadium sees them four points off the play-offs with six games to go and Evans said: “They don’t get any bigger than going away to the league leaders, who look likely to get promotion. Click HERE to read our Big Match Preview “The facts are we can go there and win and Doncaster can still be promoted on Saturday night - that would be the perfect scenario for me. “I don’t think anyone in this division would relish going to Doncaster on Saturday. We are probably the exception to the rule. “We have nothing to lose. They are playing to win promotion. They don’t want it to be going to next week when they had the champagne on ice. “It’s a great game for us to be involved in. We know what the prize if for us - to keep ourselves in contention for the play-offs - and the prize for Doncaster Rovers is to be promoted to League One. That is going to happen - it’s only a question of when it happens.” Evans has long been convinced Doncaster would win the title this season. “I saw Doncaster before I came back into football in August and September and I remarked to the people we were with that I thought we’d just watched the champions,” he said. “You need a recipe. The recipe is good players, a good management team, a solid club and some good supporters behind you. At Doncaster Rovers they’ve got that. “The had the most extraordinary season last season you could ever imagine. To see them get relegated when they were comfortably a mid-table side, Darren must have felt that he’d run over four black cats, not one. “But he took his pain and now he’s taking the gain. He’s built a wonderful side. “They are the best in the league by some distance. Other managers around that top three or four will probably lay claim that on a good day they are as good. “Well from a neutral point of view, they’re not. The best players in the main, though not all, are at Doncaster. “The manager is up there with the best in the league too. His experience will have played a part, certainly since the turn of the year, and fair play to him.” He added: “They sign good players then they play in a way that suits the style they have. “Darren is not a 4-4-2 man or a 4-3-3 man, he varies it. But he likes to get it down and pass the ball through the lines. He likes to sign creative players and in both boxes he’s got it right. “Up top they are particularly strong. It’s why they can go to Grimsby and score five and probably on another day that could have been 10.” However, Evans pointed out: “But we’ve got good players and we have a way we need to play on Saturday to win the game. “It’s going to be tough - we’re not kidding ourselves. They will have lots of the ball. So we need to make the most of our opportunities when we’ve got the ball. “First and foremost we need to defend properly when we are out of possession.”

Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/underdogs-mansfield-head-for-doncaster-promotion-party-with-no-fear-1-8479369

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Derby defeat wouldn’t end Stags’ play-off dream insists Evans
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 06 April 2017

Steve Evans insisted a derby defeat at Doncaster would not necessarily spell the end of Mansfield Town’s play-off dream on Saturday. “We need to win four from six - I have never hidden that,” he said. “That is our objective and it helps if we need to win three from five after Saturday. That’s just a simple calculation. Click HERE to read our Big Match Preview “We need to keep ourselves in contention over the next couple of weeks. I would go as far as to say if we lost at Doncaster and we lost or only took one point over Easter, it would be time up for the play-offs. “You have to live in the real world and not be coming out and making statements that people just think you’re bonkers. “We have to have a points return between now and the end of the Easter period and then it’s up to us.”?Evans maintains Doncaster have been the best team he has faced all season in the 1-1 home draw on New Year’s Eve. “They are largely the same team and they were the best team we’ve played,” he said. “ I know we drew the game and they were probably fortunate to only be one down at one stage. But we were very fortunate it was 1-1 at the end when they hit the post. “Like we saw with Exeter and Plymouth, good teams will always have a spell and you have to make sure, if you are having the bulk of pressure and chances, that you’ve done enough in that period to make sure one goal from them doesn’t change it all round again.” He added: “If we are still in the game at 70-75 minutes, I will take my chances there on in. “The boys are in good spirits and we have an idea how we are going to play. “It will be a wonderful party atmosphere and I love those atmospheres. “I have to make sure my players continue to play with their hearts but engage their brains a bit earlier. Striker Yoann Arquin is back in the squad after a slight injury but Stags will take a late decision on right back Hayden White, who is back in training after a hamstring strain.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/derby-defeat-wouldn-t-end-stags-play-off-dream-insists-evans-1-8479387

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Taft happy to put injury nightmare behind him
mansfieldtown.net, 6th April 2017

Stags’ defender George Taft is pleased to be reaping the rewards of his hard work after a frustrating six-month spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

The 23-year-old former Burton Albion defender joined the Stags last summer but suffered a hamstring injury in the 1-0 defeat against Barnet in September 2016, which ultimately ruled him out for six months.

But Taft was named in the starting XI in last week’s Sky Bet League Two clash against Exeter City and the defender said he was ‘buzzing’ to be involved.

“I was a bit surprised to get the start but obviously buzzing to get going, to be out there and to be back with the team," the centre-half said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/taft-happy-to-put-injury-nightmare-behind-him-3661372.aspx#chwpcBubaYYdHRiK.99

“I was very pleased with my 60 minutes. It came as a surprise but I was just thankful that I got a bit of time.

“It seems so long ago now but it’s good that all the hard work I’ve put in is finally showing and I’m getting the rewards.

“I’ve been in early every morning getting treatment, getting out of here late doing extra work, doing bits when I get home, eating right, living right, making sure I look after my body and that it's healing right.

“It’s been five months of graft and hard work and it’s hard work watching the lads doing so well and not being involved. I just want to be involved and be around that winning mentality.”

Saturday’s appearance at One Call Stadium was also the first appearance the former Leicester City trainee has made under boss Steve Evans and he admits it was difficult when the manager first joined the club, as the hamstring injury meant he couldn’t make an impression.

“It’s hard at the beginning because everyone’s impressing and working hard and I’m just in the shadow, so I’ve just had to try and do catch up.

“I’m enjoying it now; enjoying my football, enjoying it under the new gaffer and everything’s going well.

“I’ve been in training a while now and working hard and hopefully he’s seen [that] and I’ll keep getting chances.”

Taft has been impressed by the impact that manager Steve Evans has had since joining the club and believes there’s still more to come from the Stags this season.

“It’s incredible what the gaffer and that have done since they’ve come in. The whole club’s just rose to the occasion and really stuck in. The lads have worked hard and I think we’ve still got more to give and hopefully we can do it.

“I’m looking forward to Saturday [against Doncaster]. Hopefully I can be involved. It’s a massive game; obviously they can get promoted and we want to spoil that so it’s going to be a big crowd and a big occasion.

“Knowing the group, everyone’s up for it. The bigger games and big occasions, everyone turns up, we don’t hide so I think we’ll go out there trying to win and I think we can.

“We’ve got some big individuals in the group that just in training and in the dressing room bring it alive and there’s loads of banter flying around but when it comes to seriousness and training, the work gets put in, so it’s a good group.”

Supporters can view George Taft’s news conference, in full, by logging on to Stags PlayerHD.

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Pressure is on for Taft to impress and win new deal after injury nightmare
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 06 April 2017

It’s been a long, hard road to recovery for Mansfield Town defender George Taft after seven months sidelined with an injured hamstring.

Impressive on his return to the side last weekend, the giant defender talks about how he now has to impress Steve Evans and win a new contract for next year.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/pressure-is-on-for-taft-to-impress-and-win-new-deal-after-injury-nightmare-1-8479887

Central defensive giant George Taft has a little over a month to convince Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans to keep him on next season.

The unlucky 6ft 5ins Taft has spent much of the season sidelined with a hamstring injury, following on from the cruciate knee ligament injury in October 2015 that ruined last season for him too.

But Taft impressed on his comeback in the 2-1 home defeat by Exeter City last weekend and, with six games to go, knows he now needs to show his new manager, Steve Evans, what he can do.

“I was a bit surprised to get the start last weekend, but obviously I was buzzing to get going and be back out there with the team,” he smiled.

“I was very pleased with my 60 minutes. It was a good opportunity to go out there and play against a good side and I was thankful.

“Your biggest hope on your first game back is to not get injured again. You have to do the basics right. It's all about winning that first header, that first tackle, pass, and just build it up from there.

“I have had a few reserve games and in-house games here, but nothing compares to an actual Saturday game with all the fans there.”

He added: “Now I have just got to work my hardest and try to impress and show what I can do.

“Keeping improving is the main thing and getting the style of play the gaffer wants. Hopefully I can fit his bill and be what he wants.

“My contract is up this summer but there is another year's option for the club so we'll see how that pans out.”

Taft can remember the moment his hamstring went in the home clash with Barnet back on 10th September and admitted he paid a price for trying to come back too soon.

“All I can remember is I planted off balance and felt my hamstring go,” he said.

“I think I tried to come back too early when I first did it. It was only meant to be a seven or eight week injury.

“But I was just trying to push myself too hard to come back too early and get involved when I should have probably just took my time. Then I re-did it in training which put me out for longer, which was even more frustrating.

“I just wanted to get going again and I should have given it more time.

“It seems so long ago. But all the hard work I've put in is finally showing and I'm getting the rewards.”

Taft's rehabilitation has been gruelling.

“I have been in every morning early getting treatment, out late to do extra work, doing bits when I get home, eating right, living right, and making sure my body is healing right,” said the 23-year-old.
“It's been five months of graft and hard work. It's hard watching the lads doing so well and not being involved. You just want to be involved and be around that winning mentality.

“It's not a quick operation to come back from. It's a slow, gradual process that you don't see the final rewards of until the end. The beginning was really hard - but I made it.”

During his time on the sidelines, the manager who had signed him last summer, Adam Murray, was sacked and in came new boss Steve Evans in November.

“It was hard at the beginning as everyone was impressing and working hard and I was just in the shadows. So I've had to try to do catch-up,” he said.

“I am now enjoying my football and enjoying working under the new gaffer. It's going well.

“I have been in training a while now and working hard, so hopefully he's seen and I will get a few more chances.”

“It's been incredible what the gaffer has done since he's come in. The whole club has just risen to the occasion and got really stuck in. The lads have worked really hard and I think we've still got more to give. So hopefully we can do it (make the play-offs).”

Taft was a rock against Exeter on his comeback last week, which saw him complete an hour in which the opposition failed to score, though Stags eventually lost 2-1 to a controversial late penalty.

“It was hard on us as we had spells when we did really well,” he said. “Obviously they are right up there and they are a good side.

“So to lose in the last minute like that was gut-wrenching. I just did my job while I was on. That's all I could do.”

Now Taft is hoping to keep his place for Saturday's big game at champions-elect Doncaster Rovers.

He said: “I'm looking forward to Saturday and hoping I can be involved. “It's a massive game. Obviously they can get promoted and we want to try to spoil that. It will be a big crowd and a big occasion.

“Knowing the group, everyone is up for it. Everyone turns up for the big games and the big occasions - they don't hide. I think we will go there and try to win - and I think we can.”

Taft came through the ranks at Leicester City, playing for England's U18s and U19s, with loan spells at Kettering Town, Swedish club Karlstad and York City before joining Burton Albion and taking in a loan spell at Cambridge United.

So he has been in some very talented dressing rooms and, of Mansfield's current squad, said: “It's up there. The squad strength is really strong. With the lads who have come in, training has gone up a gear and it's enjoyable. Every day there is quality out there and it shows.

“We have some big individuals in the group that, in training and the dressing room, just bring it alive. There is lots of banter flying round. But when it comes to being serious, the work gets put in. It's a good group.”

Taft concluded: “Luckily my knee last season was nothing to do with my hamstring problem. The surgeon said the chances of how I did my hamstring were incredible - so low - which makes it even worse I guess.

“Hopefully now I am back for good.

“I have had more time to work on my body and sort out what I need to do to be in good shape. Hopefully that has helped.

“It's been a frustrating season. Obviously I came here and I thought I did well when I first started and I was getting into the games. Then to have an injury and such a long time out has been frustrating.

“I am happy to be back involved now and see out the end of the season.”

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