EVANS PREVIEWS MATLOCK & GAINSBOROUGH
Boss challenges players to 'stake a claim' for starting spot
mansfieldtown.net, Monday 24 July 2017
Stags' boss Steve Evans has challenged his players to stake a claim for a starting berth away to Crewe Alexandra on the opening day of the season ahead of the final few pre-season friendlies.
Two separate squads will travel to Matlock Town and Gainsborough Trinity, respectively, tomorrow before Stags face Alfreton Town on Saturday and Rainworth Miners' Welfare next Tuesday.
And the gaffer says he has told the squad that 'the gloves are off' as his players compete for a place in the starting XI when the Sky Bet League Two begins on Saturday 05 August.
"I’ve said to the players yesterday after the little training session and the Open Day - ‘the gloves are off, the gloves are off for all of you,'" the Stags' chief said.
"That means it’s time now to earn your place. We’ve accepted that people are trying to get fit, we’ve accepted that people are perhaps trying things to impress, we’ve accepted that people are doing things that would be unusual but they know now from training and from the games how we like to play, the patterns of play that we like to introduce and it’s now an opportunity for the next two weeks to stake a claim.
The gaffer believes that tomorrow's double-header gives the Stags an opportunity to increase the amount of game-time for his squad.
"Hopefully we can get 90 minutes into as many players as possible. It's two XI's that will represent the first team squad and each venue will have three or four of the under 21s backing the teams up," the Stags' chief said.
"If we need to make a change through injury - hopefully not - or through fatigue in the later stages, then the youngsters will be there to back it up. But primarily, we want it to be as many getting 90 minutes as possible."
Winger Alex MacDonald and defender David Mirfin both missed Saturday's pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest and the boss has explained the reasons behind the pair's absence.
"[Alex MacDonald] had a little flicker of a cartilage breakaway in his knee, so he had a minor operation last week to remove that. I think the operation, the surgeon was telling the staff, I think it was seven minutes, so it shows you in reality how minor it was.
"Alex will be fighting now to be ready for Crewe, and I think that's more about game-time than anything else. We'll probably say he won't be ready for Crewe, but that's just based on game-time, he's injury-free now and he's working hard and he should be back with the group on Monday next week.
"[David Mirfin] was just not feeling well, as simple as that. He reported and he felt a little bit under the weather.
"He's missed this morning with the same little bug but he's feeling much better, our medical team have spoken to him in the last hour and he's feeling much better but sometimes you get that as a 24-48-hour bug and you have to protect it. David will be back in the morning."
The former Leeds United manager has also provided supporters with an update on the club's transfer negotiations, and revealed that midfielders Jack Thomas and Lewis Collins could both embark on loan spells.
"Young Jack Thomas and young Lewis Collins; we've had a number of requests come in from non-league clubs and we've spoken to both lads this morning and they're open to it.
"They want to play - they're working incredibly hard but the quality we've got within the group at the minute says they're probably not going to be able to force themselves in in the short term.
"They're both good kids, both still highly thought-of so that's a possibility and as everyone knows in the country, we're working so hard to add one or two to the group and we'll continue to try."
Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full news conference.
Squad split as Stags players battle it out in friendlies double
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 24 July 2017
Mansfield Town’s full first team squad will continue to stake their claims for a starting place at Crewe when they are split in half for friendly games at Matlock Town and Gainsborough Trinity tomorrow night (Tuesday, both 7.30 kick-offs).
With only one full first team pre-season fixture still to go after them at Alfreton on Saturday, competition will be high to make the starting line-up on 5th August.
“It will be principally the first team playing at both grounds and hopefully we can get 90 minutes into as many players as possible,” said manager Steve Evans.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/squad-split-as-stags-players-battle-it-out-in-friendlies-double-1-8667233
“There will be two first team coaches leaving here which I think will be a first for the Stags. They will both be leaving at the same time, one turning left and one turning right!
“It is two XIs that will represent the first team squad and you will have three or four U21s backing the team up.
“If we need to make a change through injury or fatigue then the youngsters will be there to back it up. But primarily we want as many to get 90 minutes as possible.”
Evans and assistant Paul Raynor now need to decide how to police the games between them.
“We may go to separate games or do the same one and involve the likes of Mike Whitlow and Richard Cooper, who are good guys and who we work very closely with,” he said.
“We will sit down as a staff, pick two teams, two squads, the U21 players.
“Richard Cooper has already given me a run-down on his opinions on those and he sees them every day. So that’s whose opinions we are going to be led by.”
Despite an encouraging first half, the Stags eventually went down 4-0 at home to Championship neighbours Nottingham Forest last Saturday. But Evans believes that result will make sure there is no complacency. “I was really pleased with the first half - you couldn’t fault the performance,” he said. “Based on chances we should have probably turned 4-2 ahead. “They missed a good chance with a header but equally we missed three or four good chances - better than half chances. So I’m really pleased with that. “Second half, without doubt, there were too many players on there who were feeling a little bit leggy and a little bit tired. “And you have to give full credit to Nottingham Forest, who on the hour mark replaced quality with real quality and you are going to pay a price when you stand off and let a team like that play.
“Once again we learned lots as we did against Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday. When you lose like that you learn more and you learn more about the individuals.
“That will stand us in good stead going forward for sure.
“I have never had a pre-season programme where it’s all been sweetness and light. I’ve always had a game in there that gives everyone a little reality check and a ‘let’s not get complacent’ statement beside it.”
Race against time for Stags winger MacDonald after op
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 24 July 2017
Exciting Mansfield Town winger Alex MacDonald could miss the big kick-off at Crewe a week on Saturday.
The club today revealed that MacDonald required a small operation last week after the results of a scan on his knee. Now it is a question of how quickly he can regain match sharpness.
“Alex had a little flicker of a cartilage breakway in his knee, so he had a minor operation last week to remove that,” said manager Steve Evans.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/race-against-time-for-stags-winger-macdonald-after-op-1-8667231
“I think the surgeon told the staff the operation took seven minutes from start to finish, so it shows you in reality how minor it was.
“But Alex will now be fighting to be ready for Crewe. “It’s more about game time than anything else. He might not be ready for Crewe just based on game time.
“But he is injury-free now and working hard and should be back with the group from Monday next week.
“When you have that ability that he has, there lies the hope that he could be fit for Crewe.”
Also missing from the Stags’ squad against Forest on Saturday was central defender David Murfin. But Evans said there was nothing to worry about.
“He just wasn’t feeling well - as simple as that,” he explained. “He reported in that he felt a little bit under the weather and he’s missed this morning with the same bug.
“But our medical team have spoken to him and he’s feeling much better. Sometimes you get a 24-48 hour bug and you have to protect yourself.”
Wednesday D-Day for Stags trialist Slew
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 24 July 2017
Striker Jordan Slew will find out on Wednesday if he has done enough to earn a contract at Mansfield Town.
The 24-year-old trialist is expected to be given 90 minutes in either of the Stags’ friendlies tomorrow night at Matlock or Gainsborough and boss Steve Evans said. “We will have a final decision on Wednesday for Jordan.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/wednesday-d-day-for-stags-trialist-slew-1-8667235
“We’ve got the games tomorrow and it has to be said he’s trained very well this morning.
“I thought he was a bit of a handful in a dull performance in the second half on Friday, but we have got to make a decision and keep one eye on what else we’re trying to do as well.”
Stags to send Thomas out on loan to restore his confidence
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town look set to send midfielder Jack Thomas out on loan to a non-League club to try to restore his confidence.
The 21-year-old was an instant hit and won player of the year at 18 when he burst onto the first team scene in the second half of 2014/15, having made his debut aged 17 at the end of the previous season.
But his progress stalled and he has been out on loan where current boss Steve Evans believes he has lost confidence through not playing.
Up-and-coming midfielder Lewis Collins, 20, is another set to go out for more experience.
“There may be one or two of the younger players who go out on loan that perhaps need to get game time - young Jack Thomas and young Lewis Collins,” said Evans.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-to-send-thomas-out-on-loan-to-restore-his-confidence-1-8671211
“We have had a number of requests come in from non-League clubs. We have spoken to both lads this morning and they are open to it.
“They want to play. They are working incredibly hard but the quality we’ve got in the group at the minute says they are probably not going to be able to force themselves in in the short term. “They are both good kids, both highly thought of, so that’s a possibility.”
Evans had told Thomas to show him in pre-season that he is good enough to stay with his hometown club and Thomas seems to have done enough to stay in the manager’s thoughts if not his initial squad. “I think the kid is whole-hearted,” said Evans.
“He gives you everything he’s got. “Jack Thomas to me is a confidence boy and I think is confidence got knocked a little bit.
“He went up to Barrow and got completely messed about up there.
“I don’t think you want your kids to go out the building and get messed about. You just want people to be genuine with them.
“We didn’t feel that was always the case with Jack and he certainly doesn’t, speaking to him at length back at the end of the season and this week.
“If Jack does go out on loan we’ll pick his club with the best intentions that he’s going to play football as he needs to be playing.
“When we bring him back into the building we want that young, confident boy that broke into the scene 15 months.”
Gloves off as Stags squad battle it out for places at Crewe
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS
Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans expects to know his starting XI for the season after this Saturday’s friendly at Alfreton Town (3pm) with players already told ‘the gloves are off’.
Evans has been delighted with his new-look squad and, after both halves of his squad chalked up 4-0 friendly wins at Matlock and Gainsborough last night, he admitted all are still in contention for a place at Crewe on 5th August, though he believes he has six or seven players already pencilled in.
“Everyone in the squad up until this week has given themselves a a chance to play. It’s whether they can establish that between now and when we leave Alfreton,” he said.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/gloves-off-as-stags-squad-battle-it-out-for-places-at-crewe-1-8671205
“When we leave Alfreton and I say to Paul Raynor (assistant boss) what do you think the team is going to be for Crewe, we’ve worked a long time together and I think we’ll be pretty much on the same page as to what it should be.
“I said to the players yesterday morning after the little training session that the gloves are off.
“They are off for all of them. It’s time now to earn your place.
“We’ve accepted people are trying to get fit, we’ve accepted people are perhaps trying things to impress, we’ve accepted that people are doing things that are maybe unusual.
“But they now know from training and the games how we like to play and the patterns of play we like to introduce and it’s now their opportunity to stake their claim.”
Evans insisted players would get picked on merit and not favouritism. “I love all of them and I don’t really care who I pick - I have no favourites,” he said.
“Far too often here in the past at Mansfield Town and at other clubs I’ve managed it’s been the manager’s favourites playing. I have openly said I have no favourites - the only favourite I have is sitting at home and he’s a wee dog called Hugo.”
Evans added: “We will know by the time we get to Alfreton, though performances speak volumes.
“If someone comes onto the pitch at Alfreton for 15 minutes and scores a hat-trick you’d be almost deemed to be picking him at Crewe.
“There are always places up for grabs. By the time we’ve come through the midweek games, me and Paul Raynor will sit down and grab a coffee away from here and chat about the options and players.
“As we go towards Thursday’s and Friday’s training we’ll almost certainly know what we’re going to be playing at Crewe.”
Latest | July 2017