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Archived News from December 2017

27th December 2017 17:48

Gaffer eyes Christmas Day play-off place
mansfieldtown.net, 19 Dec 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans believes his side should be 'seven or eight points' better off than their current total of 33 points in Sky Bet League Two and is hoping to re-claim a place in the top seven with a win over Morecambe this Saturday.

Of their 22 games, Stags have won eight, drawn nine and lost five - the amount of stalemates being the highest in League Two this season.

And had we turned some of our dominant performances into wins - such as last week's 0-0 draw with Yeovil Town - the boss believes we would be sitting deservedly closer to the top of Sky Bet League Two.

"We're frustrated, aren't we? There's no question that we should be seven or eight points better off, no more than that, which would have put us up towards third position," the Stags' chief said.

Read more at https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2017/december/gaffer-eyes-christmas-day-play-off-place/

"That's probably where we should be, third or fourth, but we're not, we're a little bit away from that at the minute. We'll keep working hard and see where it takes us. We've always said that we'll be much better in the second half [of the season].

"I expected us to be in the top seven by the time we sit down for Christmas Day; we still have an opportunity to do that, despite our frustrations, and then we've got two tough away days on the road, so it's a busy week coming up for us.

"It's one defeat in 14, which would be a commendable record, but [there's been] far too many shared games in there. We need to put teams away when we're so far on top, like we were against Yeovil."

Despite his belief that Stags should be higher than they are in League Two, the gaffer recognises that the league table is still very tight, with just over half of the season still remaining.

"We have to keep changing it around and tweaking it around until we get back to winning ways. That will come; we were winning sweetly a couple of weeks ago.

"It was very interesting this morning on the television, I was listening to Gareth Ainsworth saying they would be so disappointed at Wycombe if they're not in the top three, and I can understand that with the squad he's got.

"We're four points behind them and we're frustrated and pulling any hair out that we've got left, so it tells you that it's very tight still."

Midfielder Joel Byrom and striker Kane Hemmings, who have been missing since the draw against Chesterfield and victory over Port Vale, respectively, are still recovering from their injuries and the former Leeds United manager has hinted at the possibility of adding reinforcements in both positions in the upcoming January transfer window.

"We're not going to rush them, but there will be a player arriving in January that can play in that position. Joel's been missing far too much of the season with a couple of injuries that have been longer than anyone would wish.

"He knew when he signed that he would be a pivotal player for us and we tried to get another one in a couple of days before the deadline back in August that we couldn't get in that would've been able to give us that commanding place in the side that we play through. We weren't able to get that one, but we won't not make that happen in January.

"There's a couple of strikers doing very well in our league that we tried to buy last summer, but we couldn't afford the packages that those lads went on, despite people thinking about the money at Mansfield. They want to have a reality [check] about what goes on around the league and who's spending the money.

"We'll try and go about our business professionally, diligently and quietly, as we've done with all of our signings. A lot of our signings, people didn't know until they were announced and that's the way others will be.

"There will be no speculation we're getting involved in in January and we won't allow other clubs to use us for the benefit of getting a transfer fee or trying to get a player a move. If we get linked, we'll quickly dispel it or we'll stay quiet and try and make it happen."

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full news conference.


Evans: Striker tops my Christmas wishlist
chad.co.uk, by MARK DUFFY, Tuesday 19 December 2017

Steve Evans says signing a quality striker remains his top priority when the transfer window opens in January. Two successive games without scoring have highlighted the need for Evans to bring in fresh faces in attack, although one defeat in 14 games means he is far from panicking just yet.

But having missed out on top targets up front in the summer, he’s now keen to recruit in January to bolster his options for the crucial second half of the season.

He said: “Our run of one defeat in 14 games is very commendable but there have been too many draws in there and we need to be putting more teams away when we’re so far on top in games as we were against Yeovil on Saturday. “We worked incredibly hard but weren’t sharp enough in the final third. “We’re not giving away too many silly goals so it’s not so much a defensive problem, more that we’re not doing enough up front in some games, missing good chances and going away frustrated.”

Evans highlighted that players he courted in the summer have now gone on to do very well in League Two this season. He said: “There are a couple of strikers in our league that we tried to bring in before the season that are now doing very well. “We simply couldn’t afford the packages that those lads were after. Despite people thinking that we have plenty of money to spend, they need to know the reality of what goes on in this league, who is spending the money and the sort of figures that are asked for.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-striker-tops-my-christmas-wishlist-1-8917771

“But as always we’ll try and go about our business as diligently and quietly as we can and as we’ve done with all of our signings, many of whom people didn’t know about until they were announced.” Despite a congested festive period ahead, which begins with the visit of Morecambe on Saturday, Evans says he is unlikely to change his mind on what is required irrespective of how results may go, and is also well aware that there may have to be departures to balance his squad. He said: “We’re aware of what we need - I think you’d be a foolish manager to have seen so many games this season and not know what is required. We know who the players are, where they are and while I’ll sit down with the Radfords and check some numbers, they were perfectly happy a few days ago with what was going to be needed. “But the next four games, win, lose or draw, will make no difference to who we want to bring in. “We’re in great shape as a squad with a great dressing room and no bad apples. We’ll need a bit of luck but we know what we want. “You have to balance it, and there will be a few who are frustrated at not playing and who may move on, but all players want to play and that’s no bad thing.”


Evans expects tough encounter with Morecambe
chad.co.uk, by MARK DUFFY, Tuesday 19 December 2017

Mansfield boss Steve Evans is under no illusions as to how tough Saturday’s visit of Morecambe will be as the Stags aim for a first win - and goal - in three games. Jim Bentley’s men arrive off the back of a crucial 2-1 win over Barnet last weekend and currently lie 20th in League Two, 11 points behind Mansfield. But Evans says he has a lot of respect for Bentley and his squad and that a difficult challenge awaits, one that will be very different to that posed by Yeovil last weekend.

He said: “I think Morecambe are a better team than Yeovil, that’s my opinion and people around the league may disagree, but Jim Bentley and his staff are very experienced and they have some good players, including the likes of Kevin Ellison who I love to bits.

“They’ll come here and they’ll work hard but we’ve got to believe we can dominate the ball and do damage.”

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-expects-tough-encounter-with-morecambe-1-8917837

Evans, meanwhile, has reflected on the first half of the season as being a frustrating one but believes Stags are in a good position to push for promotion. He said: “It’s been frustrating as there’s no doubt we should be seven or eight points better off which would have put us up to around third position which is where we probably should be. “But we’re not and have to keep working hard and see where it takes us. We’ve always said we’ll be much better in the second half of the season and I expected us to be in the top seven when we sat down for Christmas Day and we still have a chance to do that despite our frustrations. “We have four very tough games over Christmas and new year to contend with now and whilst every game is pivotal, we need to get back to winning ways and this is a good time of year to do it.”


White setting sights high ahead of busy period
mansfieldtown.net, 19 Dec 2017

Right-back Hayden White is targeting a maximum tally of 12 points from Stags' four games over the festive period as they aim to ascend the Sky Bet League Two table.

We host Morecambe at One Call Stadium on Saturday followed by back-to-back away games against Grimsby Town and Wycombe, before returning to north Nottinghamshire against Carlisle United on New Year's Day.

And White, who joined the club permanently in the summer transfer window from Peterborough United following a successful loan spell last season, is confident that the Stags can attain a high points total over the coming weeks.

"We want the 12 points and at the moment we need the 12 points. We've got the right squad and the right players to get those points," the 22-year-old said.

Read more at https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2017/december/white-setting-sights-high-ahead-of-busy-period/

"Every game in this league's tough. The home games we need to win and we need to go away from home and pick up points as well. We want every point that we can pick up.

"It's not like we're not creating enough or doing enough, it's just the final piece of the puzzle and we're not putting the ball in the back of the net at the moment.

"We know it could be better, we know it 100 percent should be better and we can only keep working hard to try and change that.

"We're still in touching distance, we're not far off, but we need to start putting a good string of winning results together and I'm sure we'll be straight up there.

"I think we knew there was a breaking in period for the squad and in the second half of the season, we know we can push on."

Stags' Christmas matches begin with the visit of Morecambe on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off) and former Bolton Wanderers defender White is expecting a physical encounter against the Shrimps.

"I think Morecambe will be a bit more physical than the previous game, but same as I've said, we need to try and find a way to win these kind of games.

"There's always good teams in there (League Two) and you see that the teams lower down the division can beat the teams right at the top and pick up draws.

"We want to win every game, but it's not going to happen. We need to keep working hard and hopefully the results will start to come for us."

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view Hayden White's news conference in full.


White sets his sights on a maximum haul
chad.co.uk, by MARK DUFFY, Tuesday 19 December 2017

Stags defender Hayden White is adamant his side can accumulate maximum points from their Christmas and new year programme. Mansfield host Morecambe on Saturday before a Boxing Day trip to Grimsby and then matches with Wycombe Wanderers and Carlisle.

And with 12 points up for grabs, White wants them all. He said: “We need the 12 points and have a squad good enough to get them. “This league dictates that every game is tough. Winning home games is crucial and picking up points on the road is key as much as possible.

“We’re within touching distance of the top seven and if we can put a good winning run together we’ll be right in there again.” Two games without scoring have left Stags frustrated in front of goal but White believes it will just be a temporary problem. He said: “We’re creating plenty of chances and working hard but the final piece of the jigsaw is putting the ball in the net and it’s just not happened for us in the last two games. “We know it could be better and we’ll be giving 100 per cent to make it better.” Stags host Morecambe this weekend and White believes it will be a very tough encounter for he and his teammates. He said: “Morecambe will be a bit more physical than Yeovil I think but we can deal with that. “Plenty of teams lower down the table can pick up results against those higher up the league so we have to guard against that. “If we keep working hard then the results will come.” Looking ahead to the transfer window opening, White says he’d welcome any new faces to the squad should manager Steve Evans decide to delve into the transfer market. He said: “We have to respect the manager’s decisions and if he feels people need to come in or leave then we go with it, but we’d always welcome new faces to the group.” On his own recent displays, White says he’s been happy to fill in at right-back rather than his usual centre-back berth. He said: “I enjoyed playing the wide role against Yeovil and it’s good to get forward whilst also remembering your defensive duties. “Wherever the gaffer wants me to play, I’ll play. It’s been a bit of a stop-start season for me but I think I’ve found a bit of form now so hopefully I can stay in the team.”


Critical Christmas for Shrimps says Jim
Friday 22 December 2017

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley says his players need to raise their game as they go into the busy Christmas period on the back of a disappointing defeat at Barnet on Saturday. The Shrimps face a run of four games in 10 days searching for some consistency to give their season the kick start it badly needs. Morecambe slumped to 20th in the table and just two points off the bottom of League Two after the defeat at The Hive and Bentley has warned that the next two weeks are vital. “We warned the players about being complacent on Saturday and they said all the right things,” said the Shrimps boss, who takes his side to Mansfield on Saturday. “But we were miles off it in the first half and they were every bit as bad as they were good the week before against Coventry. “We set the standard at the Coventry game and I was left feeling so frustrated. “It’s no good in this league turning up on the big occasions, you have to be on it every game and we haven’t done that. “We have beaten teams like Wycombe and Coventry and played well but lost to teams like Crewe, Forest Green and now Barnet and we have to stop doing that. I have said repeatedly that we have deserved more from our performances but I can’t keep saying that. “We need points on the board now and these next four games could have a massive say in how our season pans out. We play Mansfield, Notts County, Yeovil and Accrington all in quick succession and we need to be on top of our game for all four games. “We have to see it as a chance to get some points to take us away from the wrong end of the table. They are all tough games but the players need to show what they are about now be consistent. “It is no good playing well for 20 minutes here and 15 minutes there, we need to get it together for longer periods of time.”

Read more at: https://www.lep.co.uk/sport/football/morecambe-fc/critical-christmas-for-shrimps-says-jim-1-8921590



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