Stags’ manager Steve Evans has challenged his players to prove their worth in the next four weeks.
The manager has been in the post just under a fortnight and has overseen two wins and a defeat during his short tenure as he assesses the players at his disposal.
And the 54-year-old believes the time between when he started the role and the opening of the January transfer window is a ‘fair period’ to be able to assess the players’ capabilities.
“We said to the players when we came in we’d assess them over November and December. It’s a very fair period to be able to work with 19/20 players and just ascertain who’s going to be good enough,” Mr Evans said at this morning’s news conference.
“I think there are certain areas where we will definitely strengthen and then there are others where we’re saying ‘come on lads, show us a reason not to’.
“There will be two categories as far as which is quite simple and I’m using the great Sir Alex Ferguson’s words which are: yes, they’re good enough to go forward - well, that’s ‘tablets of stone’, they’re good enough; no, they’re not, that’s ‘tablets of stone’; and as a management team you have to take the approach to the maybes, the maybes are not good enough because there’s doubts.”
The former Rotherham United manager says he is already looking at areas where he can strengthen the squad in January and the boss and his coaching staff have already began scouting different players.
“We were out last night, both Paul Raynor and myself at separate matches. Our scouting staff have been out over the last week or so and we’ll continue to work diligently.
“I’ve had conversations with a Championship boss today and one in the Premier League about possibilities with players. We’re going to monitor them as well. Gone are the days where you can look at players over a game or two.
“It’s different if they’re experienced [English] Football League players and you’ve seen them many times but especially the younger generation, if you’ve looked at them over a game or two, it’s maybe not enough.”
Stags have a break in their Sky Bet League Two schedule this weekend with the Emirates FA Cup second round taking place and Evans says it is an opportunity to look at some of the players on the periphery of the squad.
“We’ve got a [behind] closed doors match planned for this week which is great for us because it’ll give us the opportunity to look at some of the lads that have only been having piecemeal off the bench or looking at them in training. Nothing can beat a game where you play against another side when they’ve got players playing that want to be in their first team.”
Finally, the boss confirmed that former first team coach Richard Cooper has returned to the club in an academy role.
“He’s coming in as part of the academy and really we’re looking at someone who knows what’s happening below the first team and someone who knows what’s happening at the first team.
“Coops is a good guy. We’ve known him many years. We’ve come up against him often enough, and we had a chat with him and he seemed very receptive in the very early days to taking a role and he’s thought it through and made it very easy. He said he’d love to be a part of it, so let’s get him in there [at the academy] for six or eight weeks then we can define an actual specific role for Richard and make sure we’re all happy with it.”
Supporters can view Steve Evans’ news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.