'Momentum' of home support can help Stags 'over the line'
mansfieldtown.net, 27th April 2017
Stags’ boss Steve Evans believes a strong home crowd at Saturday's big match against Portsmouth can help his team achieve a positive result at One Call Stadium.
With two games remaining of an exciting Sky Bet League Two season, Stags occupy eighth position, one point and one place outside the play-off places.
And speaking at this morning's news conference, he said: “We have to win our individual battles all over the pitch. This is a team just packed with real quality coming to face us. It’s going to be tough for us, but we want to make sure that we play at our best.
“There will be a fantastic atmosphere for the players to go out and play and hopefully at three o’clock we get them ready to be on the front foot.
“I’ve always said we want to be in the game on 70 minutes. We want the momentum of the home support helping us to get over the line and get the three points.”
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boss-focussed-on-keeping-season-alive-3694940.aspx#iEFPJzSkvDugoyxq.99
Heading into Saturday's big match, Stags' sole aim is to remain in the play-off hunt by 5pm that evening.
“The minimum objective is to make sure we’re fighting for something at Crawley [next Saturday] and we’d love that to be in our own hands.
“We know what we have to do. We have to get three points and hope that something goes our way to put it in to our hands.
“We need to make sure we can take it to the last day because there’s a lot of clubs with the same ambition on Saturday.
“It’s fantastic that we’ve got ourselves in the position that we’re fighting for such a prize with two games to go. We have to make sure we deliver such a performance that we make it still a prize to fight for with one game to go.
“If you say to me now though, 'we’ve got a point and others have lost', we’d take it because we’d virtually put it into our own hands if others get beat.”
Saturday’s visitors have already sealed their promotion to League One but can still win the league title and the gaffer has offered his congratulations to opposite number Paul Cook for Pompey’s excellent achievement.
“The manager’s up there with the best of them, his assistant (Leam Richardson) is up there with the best of them, the players are up there with the best of them.
“The one thing that Paul Cook does is he gets his recruitment right, both at Chesterfield and at Portsmouth.
“I was looking at some stats only the other evening and I think he’s the most successful 'stats manager' that Portsmouth’s had since the fifties and I can remember some of the successful times under Harry [Redknapp].”
Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view manager Steve Evans’ full news conference. Tickets for the fixture can be purchased by Stags' fans via http://www.stagstickets.co.uk
Pompey tester as Stags aim to take play-off fight to last weekend
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 27 April 2017
Manager Steve Evans is hoping a win over title-chasers Portsmouth on Saturday and favourable results elsewhere can leave Mansfield Town heading for Crawley with their play-off fate in their own hands the following weekend. Stags are one point and one place outside the top seven and face a massive test against a superb Pompey side who are already promoted.
“The minimum objective is for us to be fighting for something at Crawley - and we’d love that to be in our own hands,” said Evans.
“We know what we have to do. We have to get three points and hope that something goes our way elsewhere to put it in our hands.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/pompey-tester-as-stags-aim-to-take-play-off-fight-to-last-weekend-1-8515864
“There are a lot of clubs with the same ambition on Saturday all the way down the table to Accrington. “It’s a fantastic tribute to the strength of League Two that there are so many good teams. “I would rather go to Crawley where we don’t need to worry what’s happening around the country. But I don’t want to worry about next week - our only focus and concentration is Portsmouth.” Despite being at home, Evans admitted: “I think we are underdogs. Portsmouth will be favourites, though I don’t want to say that too loudly. “But top can beat bottom in this league. That’s the way it is. “It is fantastic that we’ve got ourselves in the position where we are fighting for such a prize with two games to go, and we have to make sure we deliver a good enough performance to make sure we’ve still got a prize to fight for with one game to go. “What’s important are the performance, as that usually brings the result, and the league table at 5pm.” Evans has nothing but admiration for Portsmouth and manager Paul Cook. “They are one of the best sides in the division by far,” he said. “The manager is up there with the best of them, his assistant is up there with the best of them, the players are up there with the best of them. “The one thing Paul Cook does is get his recruitment right as he showed at Chesterfield and Portsmouth. I looked at his stats and I think he’s the most successful stats manager that Portsmouth have had since the 50s, and I can remember some of the successful times under Harry Redknapp. “That’s brilliant for Cooky and brilliant for Portsmouth. “He cares. He is passionate and does his homework. He obviously knows a player, he knows how to get winning football into his team, he puts a big emphasis on team spirit in the dressing room and he is character and a winner. “He is the type of manager, when I go to watch football, that I like to see - he gets very passionate. “I said the other day they will grace League One for sure. “They have fantastic supporters that have been behind their team in recent times, which for them is coming out of the darkness.” Although they need Doncaster and Plymouth to slip up, third-placed Pompey’s ambition remains the League Two title. “Portsmouth’s objective at the start of the season would have been to get promoted and they are still trying to be champions,” said Evans. “Doncaster Rovers have not been looking after themselves in the last few weeks. I saw some words attributed to Darren Ferguson that he’s not happy. “Then I know Derek Adams down at Plymouth. I know we may have had a war of words but I do have a lot of respect for the guy and they will fight for the title until the death. “But Portsmouth will be waiting for those two to slip up. “The pressure to get promoted lay at their door at the start of the season and they dealt with it which is why I have so much admiration for Cooky. They have been fantastic. “But we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves. “We’ve got a job to do. We have an opportunity to get into the play-offs to fight for promotion “We’ll have a game plan and a change of game plan if that’s not been beneficial to us. But first and foremost we have to work as hard as the Portsmouth team as they are an incredibly hard-working side. “Paul Cook insists they defend from the front and they attack from the back.” Stags are expecting their biggest crowd of the season and hoping for the biggest since the return to the Football League. Pompey have sold their 1,500 allocation but Evans hopes the Mansfield public will turn out in force too. “Our chairman and chief executive deserve that sort of support from the town and the players do,” he said. “This squad wasn’t built until January but they’ve taken us to within a win of, I think, being in the play-offs. “The Radfords are fantastic people. They’ve not only saved this football club but they’ve got them out of non-League football and into the Football League then had, they would think, a couple of period where it’s stagnated. But it doesn’t look like it’s stagnating now. “It would be fantastic for them to come out the boardroom on Saturday and see a full stadium - it’s what they deserve.” He added: “I’d say to our fans be loud and proud. You’re going to see that in the visitors’ end. They are going to be loud and proud. “We want a big support behind us. There will be a fantastic atmosphere for our players. Some will handle the occasion without blinking and others might need a bit of cajoling at different times.” Just before Evans joined the club in November the Stags went down 4-0 at Portsmouth and had two players sent off. Evans said: “I hope it’s different on Saturday! But Portsmouth beating any team 4-0 is not a surprise home or away. They have some very gifted players. “We want to be in the game at 70 minutes with the momentum of the home support helping us get over the line for three points. “But if you say to me now we’ve got a point and the others lost we’d take it because we’ve virtually put it in our own hands then.”
Towering defender wants fans' boost against Pompey
mansfieldtown.net, 27th April 2017
Stags' defender Krystian Pearce wants a vocal home support to be the '12th man' at One Call Stadium for this Saturday’s vitally important match against Portsmouth.
We host Pompey with a top seven finish still in our sights with two games of the Sky Bet League Two campaign remaining.
And Pearce, who has captained the side in the absence of Lee Collins in recent weeks, believes a large home crowd will give the Stags an extra boost against their Hampshire opponents.
“We’re going to need everyone behind us on Saturday and hopefully there'll be a big crowd there to cheer us on and hopefully get that three points we need," the former Birmingham City defender said.
“They always talk about the '12th man' and obviously we’ve got that in the fans, so hopefully they’ll turn up and show their support.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/towering-defender-wants-fans-boost-against-pompey-3695355.aspx#qJYMVpSqHC6wt3YH.99
“They’re (the fans) the 12th man. They’ve (Portsmouth) got a good following themselves so if we can outdo them, I think that extra boost will help.
“Everyone come down and support us and hopefully we can get it over the line and get in the top seven after the game and stay there.”
The former Torquay United defender has been involved in 15 out of the Stags’ 16 clean sheets this season and he wants that defensive solidity to remain throughout the rest of the season, beginning with Saturday’s game against Portsmouth.
“I think we need to keep a clean sheet, because we know we’re capable of scoring goals. So if we keep a clean sheet, I think we’ll get all three points.
“I think someone told me we’re second in the most clean sheets in the league, behind Portsmouth, so it’ll be a tight game and hopefully we can come out on top.
“We’re obviously going to go for the three points but every point at this point of the season is vital.”
Despite the temptation of thinking what could happen if the Stags finish the season in the play-offs, 27-year-old Pearce insists his focus remains on the next game.
“I think we’ve just got to take it each game at a time, you can’t look too far ahead.
“You have to take it one game at a time and you can’t really look back at things where you failed because you’ve got to keep positive and keep that positive energy flowing, so that’s what I’m trying to do myself.
“I think I’m happy with my performances so far this season, I think I’ve been quite solid. I’ve managed to stay on the pitch more than last season, which is helpful!”
Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view Krystian Pearce’s news conference in its entirety.
To purchase tickets for this Saturday’s game against Portsmouth, visit http://www.stagstickets.co.uk.
Clean sheet the key to Stags’ success chances against Portsmouth says skipper Pearce
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 27 April 2017
Skipper Krystian Pearce believes keeping a clean sheet will be key to Mansfield Town’s chances of beating League Two title-chasers Portsmouth at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.
Stags go into the game just one point and one place outside the play-off spots with two games to go and centre half Pearce said: “I believe we are going to win both games so, hopefully, if we do that we’ll be in there.
“I think we need to keep a clean sheet as we know we are capable of scoring goals. If we can keep a clean sheet I think we’ll get all three points.
Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/clean-sheet-the-key-to-stags-success-chances-against-portsmouth-says-skipper-pearce-1-8515987
“Someone told me we are second in the most clean sheets league behind Portsmouth, so it will be a tight game and hopefully we can come out on top.” He added: “I am just buzzing to be in contention. Obviously at the start of the season that was always the aim - to get promoted. And we are still in with a chance of doing that so, personally, I am very excited. “Obviously I’ve been at clubs where we were pushing for promotion and when I was at Scunthorpe we managed to win the play-offs. Hopefully this can be second time around for me. “With so many teams on the same points it could come down to goal difference. So we’ll be trying to score as many goals as possible.” Should Stags go up, Pearce admitted: “It will be my biggest achievement so far. “Obviously it’s taken me a while to get back in the League. I went down with Torquay, but I managed to sign here, established myself in the team, and hopefully can get back into League One and then kick on again. “I have played in League One before and I know what it’s about. “I think this squad we’ve got now will do very well in League One if we got there. “I am happy with my performances so far this season. I think I’ve been quite solid and I have managed to stay on the pitch more than last season which has been helpful! “I probably am in the best form of my career so far but I still feel there’s more to come.” Pearce believes the home fans can make the difference on Saturday if they can win the war of noise in the stands against Pompey’s 1,500 army. “We are going to need everyone behind us and hopefully there will be a big crowd behind us to cheer us on,” he said. “Portsmouth have got a good following themselves, so if we can out-do them I think that will help.”
COOK'S TITLE TARGET
portsmouthfc.co.uk, 27th April 2017, by Neil Weld
Boss looks ahead to Mansfield trip
There is sure to be a party atmosphere inside the away end at Field Mill.
Many Pompey fans traditionally adorn fancy dress to celebrate the final away fixture of the campaign.
But Paul Cook is not content for his side to simply turn up against Mansfield and enjoy the carnival atmosphere.
With top spot still within their sights, he believes the players will not be looking to coast to the end of the season.
The Blues boss said: “We still have a small chance of winning the title and while that’s there, we have to fight for it.
Read more at http://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/paul-cook-on-pompeys-sky-bet-league-two-game-at-mansfield-town-3695553.aspx#xmMPDeL6kZxewS7x.99
“Any team that’s been promoted will always feel distracted because you feel that you’ve achieved what you were after.
“The natural thing is to step off a bit, but if you saw our performance against Cambridge then I don’t think that can be levelled at our boys.
“Hopefully we can keep it going and have something still to play for against Cheltenham in our last game.
“My message is simple and has remained the same all year - the most important league table is the final one because it doesn’t lie.
“You finish where you deserve. If we end up third then we’ll shake everyone’s hand, but would we like to catch Plymouth and Doncaster? Of course we would.
“We can only control our own destiny, though, so we’ll just concentrate on ourselves and that’s something we’ve done well all season.”
Cook expects to be challenged by a Mansfield side that are currently sitting just one place - and a single point - outside of the top seven.
He said: “It’s a really tough fixture against a strong team who are fighting to get into the play-offs and I’m sure the atmosphere will be electric.
“We’re taking great support there - as we always do - and we want to make sure our fans leave the ground happy with what we’ve done.”
Pompey could be without Stanley Aborah at Mansfield after the midfielder hurt his neck during his home debut last Saturday.
Cook said: “Stanley’s struggling and hasn’t trained all week, which is disappointing because he was outstanding against Cambridge.”
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