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Boss believes in Stags' credentials

3 April 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans believes his side are still capable of finishing the season in the Sky Bet League Two top seven.

A controversial 97th-minute penalty saw Stags slip to defeat against Exeter City on Saturday, but we still occupy ninth position in Sky Bet League Two, four points outside the play-off positions. 

And the gaffer feels that his side are good enough to win all of their six remaining League Two matches and subsequently secure a spot in the play-offs. 

“I’ve never been defeatist; my glass has never been half-empty, it must always be full," the manager said. 

“It must always be about positivity but the supporters should never forget: they didn’t expect in October and November to be having a fight for the play-offs. The reality is, the team that was left might have got relegated, that’s my professional opinion. 

“I think we need to win four to be in the play-offs. Are we capable? We’re capable of winning six. If we play as we are, we’re capable of winning all the games. 

“We’re not a team who’s hanging in there, trying to survive in the play-off group. We’re a team that’s in superb form and we’ve not killed teams when the opportunity has come to do it.”

As our under 21s have no fixture scheduled for this week, the boss says he will use the days before Saturday’s match away to Doncaster to keep his squad fresh ahead three games in the space of 10 days. 

“We need to just [keep] concentration levels high, make sure people are fresh, make people ready and obviously some good work will go on the training ground, especially with people like Tafty (George Taft) to get him back up there for Saturday, and Kyle [Howkins].  

“Whatever team we go with, we want to make sure we go to Doncaster Rovers and make sure we give a good account of ourselves because we know there’ll be a good crowd there. 

“We’ll take a good support as well, the Stags’ fans have been tremendous. The more local they are, the more they turn up. They know we’re still fighting with a chance. 

“Saturday was massively disappointing for all of us, but again the team gets a standing ovation – they knew their team didn’t deserve what they got on Saturday, we’ve had that in a few games now.”

The former Leeds United manager has said goalkeeper Scott Shearer is still struggling with a virus and the medical staff will know more about striker Pat Hoban’s knee injury later in the week. Meanwhile, he also provided an update on striker Yoann Arquin and right-back Hayden White, who were both omitted from Saturday’s matchday squad through injury. 

“We’d like to think [Yoann] Arquin’s got a chance but we’ll give it right up until Thursday or Friday to work out about Hayden. 

“Yoann was just suffering a little bit with his groin. He should be back on the grass by Wednesday/Thursday and if he is, and he trains properly for two or three days, then he comes in to contention. 

“[Hayden White’s] just feeling the top of his hamstring. You know what hamstrings are like, it’ll be the player that normally decides when he’s back and when he can step up.”

“Hayden will be up at 70, 80, 90 percent by Wednesday or Thursday but it’s whether he feels in his head if he can go to 100 [percent]. That decision will probably be taken on Friday. 

Supporters will be able to view Steve Evans’ news conference, in full, later today on Stags PlayerHD. 


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