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Archived News from February 2017

20th February 2017 12:35

Boss showers praise on squad
mansfieldtown.net, 16th February 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans this morning took the time to praise his squad on the three-month anniversary of his appointment as the club’s manager.

Since the manager joined the club, Stags have climbed from 18th to seventh in Sky Bet League Two and are currently on a nine-match unbeaten run since the turn of the year.

And at this morning’s news conference, the gaffer commended his squad for their hard work in the three months he’s been in the role.

“Our defending has been very good all the way through, not just since the first of January but in the main it’s been very good. That’s down to the players - we work with them on the training ground but quite rightfully they’ve had plaudits, and so they should do," the Stags' boss said.

“We didn’t for one second look at our players and fault effort or determination or commitment and passion, that’s there in abundance. I think we could see that in the celebrations when Yoann Arquin gets the late equaliser [against Accrington], it’s the whole team who’s with him.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/boss-showers-praise-on-squad-3579090.aspx#YlsQG8MkMezKS2Jy.99

"We’ve got a fantastic dressing room, I’ve made sure I’m down there this morning getting smiles back on people’s faces and getting focus and that’s what we need to be about."

Looking forward to Saturday’s trip to Grimsby Town, the former Leeds United manager has stated his pleasure at seeing the Mariners return to the EFL after a six-year exile.

“It’s a fantastic place to go and play football, Blundell Park. The supporters, I get plenty of stick, but the supporters are tremendous. They get right behind their team.

“Grimsby are certainly a top end League One club, if not a Championship club and that’s where their aspirations should lie but again, they don’t concern me.

“I don’t care whether Grimsby’s not won for four, won for four, not won for 44; they have no concern to me. It’s what we do and it’s what we do at Blundell Park that will be the difference of whether we come away from there with a point, another three points or no points.”

Defenders Kyle Howkins and George Taft will both sit out Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash, but the boss says that midfielder James Baxendale will train tomorrow after sitting out Tuesday’s 4-4 draw with Accrington Stanley due to illness.

“We’re looking at certainly Howkins back next week. Taft’s in full training now - he’s been training for a week but obviously he needs to train for another week and get involved maybe for 45 minutes with next week’s reserve game, funnily enough away at Grimsby again, but we’ll worry about that next week.

“[Baxendale will] train tomorrow, he’s back in the building today. He’s not quite right to be up there with the group but we expect him to train tomorrow.”

Young midfielder Lewis Collins was included in the Stags’ first team squad for the first time on Tuesday evening and the boss has challenged him to show how much he wants to succeed at the club.

“We think highly of the kid. We’re not going to get carried away with him but he’s got a little chance.

“He came out of Reading and sometimes they go to clubs like our club and you go there and you hope that you do well enough to have a second chance. He’s got enough ability and now we’re going to find out if he wants it enough.

“He’s certainly in our thoughts for Grimsby and he’s from Grimsby as a kid so Mr and Mrs Collins and all the family - get yourselves to Blundell Park and get in the away end!”

Supporters can view Steve Evans’ pre-Grimsby news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.


Stags boss ready for Grimsby banter in ‘derby’ showdown
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 16 February 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans is expecting plenty of stick from the home fans when Stags travel to Grimsby Town on Saturday - but is looking forward to renewing the banter.

Evans is delighted to see the Mariners back in the Football League and sees them as a possible Championship club.

But Stags will be aiming to extend their unbeaten League run to 10 games after Tuesday’s astonishing 4-4 home draw with Accrington - and they will be backed by an army of over 1,000 fans in a game that always has a touch of the ‘local derby’ feel about it despite the miles separating the clubs.

Grimsby have slipped out of the play-off race at the moment after four games without a win and are down to 13th, while Stags remain seventh.

“Blundell Park is a fantastic place to go and play football,” said Evans.

“I get plenty of stick there, but the supporters are tremendous. They get right behind their team.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-boss-ready-for-grimsby-banter-in-derby-showdown-1-8393699

“But we’ll take a good support too and we are going to focus on ourselves.

“I don’t care if Grimsby haven’t won for four or 44, they are of no concern to me.

“It’s what we do at Blundell Park that will be the difference if we come away with another point or three points or no points.”

He added: “They should never have gone out of the Football League.

“We often say that about teams. Lincoln City are down in the Conference and they should never be there. But sometimes chairmen pick a manager and he’s not right for the football club, though, of course, those chairman want to get it right.

“But Grimsby are certainly a top end League One side if not a Championship club. That’s where their ambitions and aspirations should lie.

“It is a Football League club every day of the week.” Stags will quickly come face to face with their former midfield ace Chris Clements when he tries to help Grimsby Town complete a double over his old club. The talented play-maker was the Stags’ longest serving player when he made the switch to the Mariners last month in a five-figure deal, striker Adi Yussuf also making the move to Blundell Park in the same window.

Evans said: “The one thing we know is that he is a wonderful player.

“He is also a wonderful young man, who conducted himself in the few days before he left in just an exemplary fashion, as did young Adi Yussuf.

“They are two kids who we just didn’t see as part of our journey going forward, but I told the chairman they’d go somewhere - it’s turned out to be Grimsby - and they will play a big part in someone else’s future as they are both good footballers.

“We just have to believe it wasn’t just about this season, but going forward that we had to recruit a different type of player to take us our journey.

“But it will be good to see them and I can say nothing but plaudits about both of them, which I did to Grimsby when they spoke to me about both of them.”

Evans added: “I wasn’t party to the defeat down here but you don’t want any team to get a double over you in the season.

“When I joined Mansfield, Grimsby were one of the teams that were in the play-offs and doing tremendous things.

“Their manager Marcus (Bignot) is a guy I don’t know, though I know him as a player of course, and I think he’s done a wonderful job since he went in there under John Fenty.

“They spent a bit of money in the window, including giving us a tidy wee sum for Clem. They will be focused and determined and Blundell Park is always a difficult place to go. It’s right on the sea and can be blustery. I’ve never been there on a warm day.

“But we’ll go there and once again, genuinely, it will be what we do and not about what Grimsby do. If we play in a certain fashion than we’ll be competitive in the game. If we go a yard down then we’ll get beaten, simple as that.”


Stags manager Evans says it was fans’ backing that earned them a draw in eight-goal thriller
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 16 February 2017

Steve Evans said it was the home fans who gained Mansfield Town their remarkable 4-4 draw with Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.

Clearly having an off night, the in-form Stags twice had to fight back from two goals down and eventually needed a spectacular last minute equaliser from Yoann Arquin to steal a point.

It was a night when both managers and sets of fans had their nerves shredded and Evans smiled: “I am heading off shortly to the asylum and there I am meeting the Barcelona manager and the Arsenal manager because we are all in that club this week. And I suppose John Coleman has to come as well!

“The wee man in a white van with a white coat is arriving shortly and I look forward to meeting a couple of legends.”

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-manager-evans-says-it-was-fans-backing-that-earned-them-a-draw-in-eight-goal-thriller-1-8394199

He continued: “You know the main reason we got a point? Early in the game we went 2-0 down and the atmosphere in the stadium was terrific. I’ve been in charge of football clubs where when you go 2-0 down it becomes quite hostile.

“That’s never a good environment. So the credit from me only goes to one group of people and that was the supporters.

“To be 2-0 down and 3-1 down to still hear the Stags fans singing and getting behind the team and words of encouragement coming onto the pitch from behind me it was fantastic so thank you to every Stags fan who turned up and stayed positive on what could have been a horrible evening.

“They missed a great chance to go 3-0 up, I don’t kid myself, but saying that we missed a big chance to win 5-4.

“What you have to do with nights like that, 100 per cent, is if you think it’s a one off you move forward from it.

“Of course you have to point it out to your players and we’ll go back on the training ground today and work hard to prevent that happening again.

“But it just shows you that if you lack, focus, detail and concentration you can pay a price and I think that’s what happened the other night.”

It was a sudden end to a run of three clean sheets for Mansfield.

“Our defending has been really good all the way through, not just since January. That’s down to the players,” said Evans.

“We work with them on the training ground but quite rightly they’ve had plaudits and so they should. But it just seemed to be all over the pitch. We defend from the front and we attack from the back.

“I have watched the game back twice and you wonder were there any players that were at the top of their game? The answer is no.

“We didn’t perform, but I’ll use Sean Dyche’s words here, we found a way to take a point - and we were unlucky not to take all three.

“We found a way to not get beaten and that’s always a hallmark of a decent side.

“We couldn’t fault determination, effort or commitment and passion - that was there in abundance. I think we could see that by the celebrations when Yoann Arquin got the late equaliser. The whole team was with him.”

Evans said the blame for poor defending lay with his whole team.

“Defenders or goalkeepers always get highlighted in the headlines when they make a mistake, we get punished and concede,” he said.

“But we scored four goals and we weren’t terrific going forward either. So it was a really strange evening.

“But we’ll take the point. We sit in the play-offs and we’ve made remarkable strides, but that’s only the start. We are probably only three or four steps out of 15 to be there. “It was two points lost. If you get an opportunity to win on a Tuesday you have to take it as it gives everyone a bounce in their step towards the Saturday. “We left the stadium on a buzz because it was a late goal, but I think we all knew we were way off it all over the pitch.”


Stags boss Evans confident assistant Raynor will receive no further FA punishment
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 16 February 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans believes his assistant, Paul Raynor will escape further punishment after being sent to the stands at half-time in Tuesday’s 4-4 thriller with Accrington for comments made to the referee.

Man in the middle Mark Heywood was criticised by both sides for dishing out 10 yellow cards and making decisions going the wrong way for both teams.

Raynor’s criticism of the linesman nearest the dug-outs upset Mr Heywood and Evans had suddenly lost his right had man.

However, he joked: “I didn’t miss him and my right ear is so much better.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-boss-evans-confident-assistant-raynor-will-receive-no-further-fa-punishment-1-8393619

“He got sent up, not for foul language, but for saying to the referee that the assistant referee on the Ian Greaves Stand side was rubbish. I concur with that view - he was rubbish.

“It doesn’t make him a bad person. He doesn’t want to get the decisions wrong, and I am talking for both teams, not just a Stags point of view.

“But it seems you are not allowed to have an opinion about the game.”

Evans fully expects Raynor to be in the dug-out alongside him at Grimsby Town on Saturday

“He will be beside me on Saturday,” he said. “I think he will get a letter from the Football Association.

“Mark Ives heads the disciplinary channels down at the FA well and he has a lot of integrity.

“I think he will look at that and say Paul Raynor has not been up here in many moons.

“So from that point of view I’d hope it would just be a letter saying beware of how you do it in the future. It’s not saying it, it’s just how you say it sometimes.”


ASK EVANS - The Stags manager answers your Chad Stags Facebook questions
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 16 February 2017

Steve Evans believes Stags are on course to replicate his success at Rotherham United and also assured fans all loan players are staying until the end of May.

Evans was replying to questions asked by Stags fans via our Chad Stags Facebook page.

Every week we offer you the chance to ask the manager a question and we will pick the best two to put to him at the twice-weekly press conferences.

Here are today’s questions with their answers - please log onto our Chad Stags Facebook page and click like via HERE and on Monday and Thursdays you can add your questions to the press conference post that morning.

Martin Eastwood asked: “I’d like to ask SE how the current Stags quality/morale compares to his promotion-winning sides at Rotherham and Crawley. Also does he think top three is possible?”

“It didn’t help the other night in making the top three a possibility,” replied Evans.

“Carlisle got a great win while we let ourselves down.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/ask-evans-the-stags-manager-answers-your-chad-stags-facebook-questions-1-8394033

“In terms of quality, I think Rotherham perhaps had a little more quality in certain areas.

“But this Mansfield team probably has a little more quality in different areas, strange as that sounds.

“When you look at the points differential, I think we are probably three or four points behind where Rotherham would have been at this stage.

“After the game at Grimsby, if you look in terms of the number of games, Rotherham then went eight games and got eight points.

“I will be disappointed if, after Grimsby, we go eight games and get eight points. But at Rotherham we won the final five and that takes a bit of doing.

“We are on track and we have some wonderful players in the dressing room that don’t want to lose. That is identical to what we had at Rotherham. There is no difference how much they hurt when they don’t win.

“We went in there the other night after the last minute goal and there was great celebrations from the supporters after the game. But in the dressing room the players were hurting. It was quiet and they knew we’d let ourselves down.

“But we also got a point and we can’t forget that.”

Dave Hollingworth asked: “Can any of our loan players be recalled by their clubs and, if so, which ones?

“You can’t go back,” assured Evans.

“The only time you can go back is in the transfer window.

“Our loan signings are to the end of May, in the eventuality we get in the play-offs.

“I can remember John Radford saying to me why are taking these players to the end of May as, play-offs, we’ve got no chance?

“Well, chairman when you come back from your sunshine break looking rather tanned, we are in the play-off spots! We have a lot of work to do to stay in there.

“I have spoken to the chairman and Carolyn since they’ve been away and they are absolutely delighted, though disappointed with the result the other night like I am, and I like that. “But we have a chance, and to make that chance a reality, we are going to need support on bad days like Tuesday night when we were 2-0 down and the fans stayed with us - thank you to every one of you.”


Evans offers help as scientists link heading footballs to dementia
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 16 February 2017

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans has said the club will help in any way they can with current medical investigations into the long-term effects of heading a football.

Evans is saddened by the plight of former Stags and Chesterfield star Ernie Moss, who is suffering from from Pick’s Disease, a type of frontotemporal dementia caused by the destruction of nerve cells in the brain, which affects his memory and communication. Heading footballs was also blamed for the demise and eventual death of former Notts County and England star Jeff Astle, aged just 59, with early onset dementia.

“I would think it’s less now than it was many years ago when the balls were really sodden and heavy,” said Evans.

Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/evans-offers-help-as-scientists-link-heading-footballs-to-dementia-1-8394087

“I know a lot of the players from previous generations always spoke about how heavy it was.

“When you see people like Ernie Moss - and I’ve come up against Ernie as a manager of course, he is a really intelligent man and a good man - a great football man.

“Let people investigate it and see where it goes. I don’t think in my generation or my lifetime it’s going to change the way that football gets played.

“But there has to be enough money in football that, if you’ve played this sport professionally for your living, there has to be some address.

“I have seen Ernie’s daughter say some lovely words, not only about her dad, but what should come from it. And I do agree with her.

“We’ll make sure the medical people look at it fully - that’s what they should do.”

He added: “The PFA do a wonderful job, but we can all sit there and be critical and negative and say do they do enough? Well they only get so much funding and with the money in football there should be provisions made.

“If we can help in any way here and people want to come in and do testing, our doors are open. We want to play a part, especially when you see what Ernie Moss means to people locally here in football. We are prepared to help his family in any way we can.”

A suggestion is that youngsters aged U11 may be banned from heading footballs in the future.

But Evans said: “When you go and watch the U10/U11 academy games, they keep the ball on the floor.

“That’s how they are taught these days, so I don’t think it’s going to change with only the odd header. I don’t think it’s a major problem.

“Heading is an art, it’s a key part of football. There are probably as many headed goals as strikes on goal.

“But it is essential we are making sure we’re not giving kids any issues as they grow up.”

A team from University College London has just studied 13 professional footballers and one amateur player, examining the brains of six after their deaths.

They found four had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can cause dementia and has also been found in boxers and rugby players.


Kyle Howkins to miss Grimsby v Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Giant loanee centre half Kyle Howkins is not ready for a return to the Mansfield Town squad at Grimsby Town tomorrow.

He will remain with parent club West Brom until next week but both her and fellow injured defender George Taft could be back in contention for the home game with Newport County the weekend after.

“We should have Kyle Howkins back next week and Taft is back in full training now,” said Evans.

Read more at http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/kyle-howkins-to-miss-grimsby-v-mansfield-town-1-8395124

“He’s been training for a week and obviously needs to train for another week before getting involved in maybe 45 minutes of next week’s reserve game, funnily enough away at Grimsby again.

“We will worry about that next week.”

Howkins is said to be desperately close to full fitness.

“Kyle is physically fit,” said Evans. “I think they have done some final testing at West Brom and he was 99.9.

“When you are with a Premier League club and you’ve got their facilities, they have the capability of testing to the final ‘nth’ degree. So they wanted to delay it a few days. I would rather have Kyle back when he is 100 per cent ready.

“I expect him back in the building by Tuesday of next week and certainly available and in the squad for the Saturday when we play Newport at home.

“If he is back, fit and ready, it’s wonderful competition for the two centre backs. And if we can get Tafty into a reserve game next week, suddenly we have wonderful competition and like two new signings.”

He added: “I would imagine Howkins would play for West Brom on Monday evening and Taft almost certainly involved at some stage, maybe for 45 minutes or 30 minimum, in the reserves at Grimsby.

“James is back in the building today though not quite right to train with the group, but he’ll train tomorrow.

“So it will be the same squad on duty at Grimsby that’s been on duty since 1st January. They have acquitted themselves brilliantly.

“We’ve got a fantastic dressing room. I’ve been down there this morning getting smiles back on people’s faces and getting them focused.”

Evans took off midfield play-maker Joel Byrom at half-time in Tuesday’s 4-4 draw with Accrington, but said it was to avoid him being red-carded by a referee that showed 10 cards on the night.

“Joel came off at half-time as he was on a yellow card.” he said.

“He hesitated on a challenge right in the centre circle and that’s not Joel Byrom.

“He was wary of a second yellow as you would be as a very experienced guy and a good professional. So it was an easy decision to take him off.”


Mansfield Town’s Lewis Collins hoping to face his home town team
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Lewis Collins travels with the Mansfield Town squad to Grimsby tomorrow hoping for a chance to get on the pitch for a debut in his home town.

The 20-year-old was an unused sub on Tuesday night, but boss Steve Evans said: “We think highly of the kid.

“We’re not going to get carried away with him. But he’s got a little chance.

“He came out of Reading and sometimes they go to clubs like us and you hope you do well enough to earn a second chance. He’s got enough ability, now we’re going to find out if he wants it enough.

Read more at: http://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-s-lewis-collins-hoping-to-face-his-home-town-team-1-8395126

“He is certainly in our thoughts for Grimsby and he’s from Grimsby as a kid, so Mr and Mrs Collins and all the family, get yourselves to Blundell Park and get in the away end.

Collins is a reliable central midfielder, possessing an extensive range of passing.

Having made his mark for the Grimsby Town academy since the age of 11, he was signed by Championship outfit Reading in 2013.

Collins honed his skills further with a six-month loan spell to Hampshire-based Farnborough FC, and subsequently signed a one-year pro deal with the Royals in 2015, moving to the Stags after his deal expired in the summer of 2016.


Mansfield Town will take advantage of a free midweek ahead to prepare for a tough spell that includes midweek jaunts to Yeovil and Colchester.
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

So boss Steve Evans has little sympathy for the top flight clubs bemoaning they are playing too much football.

“The disadvantage from the Football League to the Premier League is they get an opportunity to work and coach and improve their players by mostly having one game a week,” he said.

“I must admit I have a little laugh to myself when I hear these managers in the Premier League who are on fortunes, and their players are on fortunes, talk about the congestion of fixtures.

Read more at http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/steve-evans-has-little-sympathy-for-premier-league-teams-moaning-about-fixture-congestion-1-8395154

“Some of them two weeks off and I’ve seen people being rested 10 days ago in FA Cup ties knowing there is a two-week break coming up.

“We all make decisions for the benefit of the team. We are Saturday, Tuesday this week, then we have the break next week then we have the long trips ahead of us.

“So we need to make sure we use the group in a wise way and make sure we are not seeing anyone tired. If anyone produces a tired performance, then it probably means their miles on the clock is high in a short space of time and they need to come out the team.

“A lot of the work I do with Sean O’Callaghan, our analyst is based on minutes and making sure what my eyes are telling me with the figures he comes up with.”


Solid partnerships pivotal to success, says Bennett
mansfieldtown.net, 16th February 2017

Defender Rhys Bennett says consistent team selection has enabled the Stags to form solid partnerships which have been central to the current nine-match unbeaten run.

The former Rochdale defender has made 39 appearances since joining the club last summer and has been used primarily in the centre of the defence since the arrival of Steve Evans as manager in November 2016.

And the 25-year-old says he is enjoying his football alongside central defensive partner Krystian Pearce, with whom he’s developed a good understanding.

“Krystian Pearce is a great defender so it’s easy to build partnerships with him,” Bennett said.

“I think in terms of the gaffer, who has obviously knitted us tighter as a group and we’ve been allowed to develop relationships and partnerships in defence, which has led to us being a lot more consistent and a lot more sturdy.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/solid-partnerships-key-to-success-says-bennett-3579206.aspx#01skp7YVIvgoI0qh.99

“I can remember the first [training] session and I can remember this man in front of me, Sean [O’Callaghan, first team performance analyst], asking me for clips of myself playing centre-half because I was going to play there on Saturday.

“I thought ‘oh my gosh, I’ve not played there for years!’ but it worked out quite well. I thought I did okay and I’m quite enjoying it.”

The Bolton Wanderers academy product says the comeback against Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night to draw 4-4 epitomised the spirit in the dressing room.

“All I’m going to say is this group of players is a special group of players - how many times were we down in that game, three times? To come back and to get a draw and to nearly nick it at the end, wow.

“From a personal point of view, it wasn’t my best game [against Accrington]. But the attacking lads carried us through and I can only give them credit.”

Bennett says the Stags will now be aiming to display a more solid defensive performance against Grimsby Town on Saturday and he refuses to be drawn into looking too far ahead.

“We’re not going to defend like that again. We scored four goals in two consecutive games and if we continue doing that then we’re going to batter teams.

“Our target is just to win the next game. Saturday is our next game and we’re going to win that and see where it takes us.

“We’ve gone to places - we went to Cambridge and beat them, they were on a great run, I think we can go there (Grimsby) and win.”

Supporters can log in to Stags PlayerHD to view Rhys Bennett’s full news conference.


Bennett confident Stags can get back on winning trail at Grimsby
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Rhys Bennett is confident of Mansfield Town getting back on the winning trail at rivals Grimsby Town on Saturday.

The Stags’ four-game winning run in League Two came to an end in Tuesday night’s eight-goal thriller against Accrington Stanley.

Steve Evans’s side came from behind and earned a point with an equaliser a minute from the 90 to square the match up at 4-4.

Bennett pointed towards the spirit within the camp to fight back and promised fans they would not defend like that again.

He said: “I dont’t think I’ve ever been involved in a football game like that and I hope to God I’m not involved in one again.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/bennett-confident-stags-can-get-back-on-winning-trail-at-grimsby-1-8395526

“I really can’t put my finger on it (team’s defensive display). I was expecting them to come out fast.

“John Coleman was my first manager in football. I knew how they’d play but I couldn’t say anything on how to stop it.

“From a personal point of view it wasn’t my best game but the attacking lads carried us through and I can only give them credit.

“This group of players is a special group of players. How many times were we down in that game?

“Three times and to come back and nearly nick it at the end, wow, all I can say.”

And added: “We’re not going to defend like that again. We’ve scored four goals in two consecutive games and if we keep doing that we’re going to batter teams.”

Bennett is enjoying playing centre-half under Evans and results would show why, with the Stags on a nine-game unbeaten run.

“I think the gaffer has knitted us tighter as a group and we’ve been able to develop little partnerships in defence, which is obviously led to us being a lot more consistent,” said Bennett.

Stags sit seventh in the League Two table, inside the play-off picture, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Lincolnshire to play Grimsby.

He added: “I didn’t know it was considered a local derby until we played them at home.

“It’s going to be a big game and we’re not going to defend like that (against Accrington) again.

“We’ve been to Cambridge and beaten them, they were on a great run, I think we can go there (Grimsby) and win.

“Our target is just to win the next game. Saturday is our next game, we’re going to win that and see where it takes us.”


Grimsby Town INJURY NEWS: Luke Maxwell in contention for Mansfield Town clash?
Grimsby Telegraph, By Liam Wood, February 16, 2017

LOAN midfielder Luke Maxwell has taken part in training for the first time as a Grimsby Town player - and he WILL be in the matchday squad this weekend.

The 19-year-old, who arrived from Birmingham City until the end of the season last month, has been struggling with a groin problem since the turn of the year.

Town welcome Mansfield Town to Blundell Park on Saturday, as they continue their League Two charge.

It's a game that Marcus Bignot says his side must take a positive result from if they are to maintain their Play-Off aspirations.

In other injury news, fellow midfielder James Berrett has also trained, but the Mariners will be without Scunthorpe United loanee Dominic Vose.

Meanwhile, Bignot is waiting to check on a couple of knocks that were picked up against Newport County on Tuesday night.

He said: "As we stand after today's training, we've got a clean bill of health - other than Dominic Vose.

Read more at http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/grimsby-town-injury-news-luke-maxwell-in-contention-for-mansfield-town-clash/story-30141685-detail/story.html#YFSIp7yCr5teg5xR.99

"We're pleased to have James Berrett back in training after a while out and Luke (Maxwell) is available for the weekend.

"He had his first training session today after coming through his rehabilitation back at Birmingham, so we're pleased to have him on board.

"He'll definitely be in the squad on Saturday - 100 per cent."


Grimsby Town boss issues Play-Offs rallying cry ahead of Mansfield clash
Grimsby Telegraph, By Liam Wood, February 16, 2017

A POSITIVE result on Saturday will mean it's 'game on' for Grimsby Town in pursuit of the Play-Offs.

That's according to Mariners boss Marcus Bignot, ahead of the Blundell Park challenge that awaits - a gainst in-form Mansfield Town (3pm).

After their battling, midweek draw at Newport County, Town remain six points adrift of the top-seven.

Bignot said: "If we are going to have any aspirations at the end of this month, the goal is to try and be in the Play-Offs, or certainly around them.

"We need to be within six points of them by the end of this month.

"If that's the case, it really will be game on in terms of our belief. We can then face the challenge head on.

"We all want success and we know what that means," he told the Telegraph.

"We will do our very best to get that, hopefully in year one. But if not, can we get it in year two or year three?"

Bignot added: "It's a game that we need a positive result from.

Read more at http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/win-and-it-is-game-on/story-30139309-detail/story.html#lX5p6XZRq8asOTwG.99

"Newport has given us confidence, but we will go into the Mansfield game knowing we are facing another team in good form. I'm looking forward to it."

Ahead of kick-off in South Wales, the Mariners made five changes to their starting XI.

Zak Mills, Craig Disley and Tom Bolarinwa all returned, while January signings Sam Jones and Akwasi Asante were handed their full debuts.

However, midfield duo Brandon Comley and Jamey Osborne were two notable absentees.

Bignot continued: "We left all of our footballers out on Tuesday night.

"I wanted to strive for that balance of technicality and physicality.

"We needed to get that balance right, and I believe we are getting a squad now that is giving us those options.

"Newport was the start of it, and certainly against Mansfield we will look to get that balance right again.

"We can bring in our footballers, while keeping that physicality as well."


Grimsby Town boss relishing battle against Steve Evans' Mansfield Town
Grimsby Telegraph, By Matt Dannatt, February 17, 2017

MARCUS Bignot has called on Grimsby Town's home faithful to create a white-hot atmosphere for the return of 'fan favourite' Steve Evans and his Mansfield side tomorrow (3pm).

The Stags boss has always been cast in the role of pantomime villain on his previous visits to Blundell Park and was infamously ejected from the ground during his time as Boston United manager in 2006.

Evans joked that he's expecting 'plenty of stick' from the Mariners fans tomorrow as his side look to extend their unbeaten League run to ten games, following Tuesday's topsy-turvy 4-4 home draw with Accrington.

Bignot, whose side began their recovery from that shuddering defeat at Crewe with a midweek point at Newport, is relishing tomorrow's touchline battle with his opposite number and has called for a little help from those in the stands.

"I've heard this is a nice ground for him and the fans really give him a warm welcome," he joked in yesterday's press conference. "I've been told all about his last visit to BP and I'm sure the fans remember it well, too.

Read more at http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/make-things-tough-for-stags-boss/story-30142100-detail/story.html

"I'm sure they'll be ready to welcome him again.

"Of late, he's enjoyed huge success and I've seen him through certain media channels. He knows how to bring success to football clubs and I'm really looking forward to coming up against him.

"He's got the ingredients and the know-how to bring success to a football club and it'll be a real test for us, but we're looking forward to it."

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's clash, Evans told the Mansfield Chad: "Blundell Park is a fantastic place to go and play football. I always get plenty of stick there, but the supporters are tremendous. They get right behind their team.

"They should never have gone out of the Football League," he added, "Grimsby are certainly a top end League One side if not a Championship club. That's where their ambitions and aspirations should lie.

"It is a Football League club every day of the week.

He added: "If we play in a certain fashion tomorrow, then we'll be competitive in the game. If we go a yard down then we'll get beaten, simple as that."


Why Grimsby Town's Chris Clements can't wait to face Mansfield Town
Grimsby Telegraph, By Matt Dannatt, February 17, 2017

HE'S played more games for Mansfield Town than Grimsby Town this season, but Mariners midfielder Chris Clements admits he's desperate to get one over his old team-mates tomorrow.

The 27-year-old is still only four games into his Blundell Park career, having moved from Field Mill as one of eight new arrivals in January.

Despite having already opened his Town account in the 1-1 draw against Luton, he admits he hasn't yet showcased the best of his abilities to his new set of fans - but says that header against the Hatters might be just the spark he needs.

"You like to get your first goal for a new club early and so it was great to get off the mark - especially scoring at home," he told the Telegraph.

"I don't think I've hit the heights of my ability yet, with my performances, but I think the goal has settled me down a little bit.

"The lads have helped me settle in well, and obviously there are a few new lads here, but we're all settling down and I think that consistency in performance will start to come very soon."

Clements was an unused sub for Tuesday's 0-0 draw at Newport but, as a sideline spectator, reckoned his team-mates provided a solid response to their mauling at Crewe last Saturday.

But now with his in-form former employers heading to Town, he knows he and his team-mates have to step it up another level tomorrow in order to complete that recovery by taking all three points.

"Obviously the conditions were horrific and the pitch was terrible on Tuesday night," he continued.

"We had to play them at their game and I think the lads that were out there did well. They fought for every ball.

"We needed a reaction - the gaffer demanded it after the Crewe game. Everyone was frustrated and disappointed with our performance and I think the lads who were out there responded on Tuesday.

"After coming through that as a squad, the spirit is good and we're just focused on tomorrow's game now.

"Mansfield are on a good run of form, and they have just nipped into the Play-Offs. They haven't lost in a while now, but we are there to beat them.

"It will be interesting playing against the lads that I have spent most of the season with, but it's a game you want to play in, because you want to beat your old team.

"I know a lot of the lads there, even though they have brought in a lot of players. But I think the core of the team I know a lot about.

"Hopefully we can put in a good performance and give them their first loss and a while."

Clements is predicting that there may be a clash of styles when Town lock horns with the Stags - a team for whom he made 20 league appearances this season, including their 1-0 loss to the Mariners in the reverse fixture back in September.

"The gaffer wants to do something here that is completely different to Mansfield over the past few months," he continued.

"He wants us to get the ball down and play proper football. He wants us to play out from the back and play through the thirds.

"It's slightly different to how it was at Mansfield, although I'm not sure what it's like there now because of the new players they have brought in.

"But certainly towards the end of my time there, it was much more get it forward as quick as you can and then play off that.

"This suits me better, and we have got good football players here. I've settled in now and I just want to put in better performances from a personal perspective.

"Hopefully I can do that and we can beat them tomorrow."

Read more at http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/chris-set-to-cross-stags/story-30142204-detail/story.html



Latest | February 2017