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Boss finalising player decisions with signings on horizon

20 December 2016

Stags’ boss Steve Evans says he is ‘close’ to deciding which members of his squad will play a part in the second half of the League Two campaign with the January transfer window looming ever closer.

The manager revealed at last week’s ‘Christmas with Steve Evans’ event in the 1861 Suite at One Call Stadium that he had clinched a deal to sign two players once the January transfer window opens. 

And Stags’ chief Evans says he has almost decided in which areas he needs to improve most, but admits that the Christmas double-header against Morecambe and Doncaster Rovers gives his players a late opportunity to make their mark. 

“I think now we’re getting very close to decisions being made. Of course, football is the type of match where someone on Boxing Day or someone on New Year’s Eve can change that whole picture,” the manager said. 

“We’ve worked very closely with the players, almost living and breathing with them over the four weeks, myself and Paul (Raynor) and Lee (Taylor), so from that point of view, I think we’re very close on decisions. 

“The chairman (John Radford) is very aware of my thoughts on an ongoing basis, as is the chief executive (Carolyn Radford) – I speak to them most, if not every day and they know my clarity of thought.”

The former Leeds United boss says he is speaking to further players in addition to the two who have already agreed to join the club and is looking to add to an already strong core of players at One Call Stadium. 

“We’ve signed two and we’re deep in conversations with two or three more. It’s not going to be seven and eight and nine players, it would be impossible to make those kinds of decisions. 

“There’s a lot of talented players in our dressing room and when you’re a very talented player, you need other talented players in certain positions to be with you. The bulk of the squad is obviously going to stay, we want to work with them, we think they’ve got plenty to offer.

“I’ve got to produce a team on the pitch that does these supporters, our chairman and CEO and board of directors justice.”

Looking ahead to 2017, the Stags’ boss says his aim is to be within six points of the play-offs after the conclusion of the festive trio of games against Morecambe, Doncaster Rovers and Blackpool. 

“If you take the three matches, we’ve got two at the One Call against Morecambe and Doncaster Rovers, the league-leaders respectively, then we make the journey up on New Year’s Day to play on the second at Blackpool – we have to be within six points of the play-offs at the end of those three games. 

“If we’re within six points of the play-offs, it’s going to be interesting in the second half of the season. 

“I obviously know in my head what I’m planning to do [in the second half of the season]. Mr Radford and Mrs Radford are, to date, backing those plans and know what we’re trying to do, and it excites me really because we could be so much better and a better team to watch.”

Supporters can watch Steve Evans' news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.

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