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Boss wants big crowd for Pompey clash

24 April 2017

Manager Steve Evans wants a big turnout of Stags' fans for this Saturday's vital match against Portsmouth at One Call Stadium.

Saturday’s 1-0 win over Stevenage saw us close the gap to the play-offs to a point and a place with two games of the Sky Bet League Two season remaining. 

And already-promoted Portsmouth will visit One Call Stadium on Saturday with faint hopes of securing the League Two title - they are five points behind leaders Doncaster - and the boss wants a big crowd roar the Stags on as they try to attain a positive result. 

"It’s a great test for the people of Mansfield, for me. I’ve got no doubts about the people of Mansfield. They’ve been fantastic since I walked in, they’re good people, the people I’ve met in and around the club," the Stags' chief said. 

"Even this morning when I arrived, there’s people queuing for tickets and it’s a fantastic feeling. We do need a big support; the away end will be full and they’ll be in good voice, as they are around the country. It should be a great atmosphere.

"You see the kids queuing up here on a regular basis just to get a selfie with the players or the signatures of players, and it's great. We want lots more of them here on Saturday."

The gaffer also reiterated that he is targeting a maximum points haul from our two remaining games - at home to Pompey and away to Crawley on the last day - to achieve a top seven finish.

“We’re currently a point outside it so if we can close that gap to zero points going down to Crawley on the last day, we’d have certainly accepted that when we walked in the door and we’d have accepted that a month ago. 

“If we take six from the last two, we’ll be in the play-offs. I’ve said that before we went to Stevenage; if we took seven from nine we’d be knocking on the door but if we took nine from nine, we’d be in there and I still believe that. 

“We need to add to the points tally and I’ve got a little feeling – if we add to the points tally on Saturday, the minimum is we take it to Crawley. So that’s one point, I think if we get three, we probably take it to Crawley in our own hands.” 

Stags play Rotherham United in their final Central League fixture of the season tomorrow at Rainworth Miners Welfare (2.00pm kick-off) and the gaffer says it will be used for some of his players to get some much-needed game-time. 

“There will be a number of the boys who need some action in that. Off the top of my head, Paddy Hoban will play, [Yoann] Arquin will play, Lee Collins will play, Lewis Collins will play, [James] Baxendale will play, [Jamie] McGuire will play, [CJ] Hamilton will play, [Ashley] Hemmings will play. From that point of view, we just want people to get some match time. 

“This is the last reserve game for us; we have the option of taking one [behind] closed doors one next week if we want to get another hour into some players but tomorrow gives us an opportunity to play those lads. 

“The others will train, they’ll train really hard and then we’ll give them Wednesday to freshen themselves up and then the real preparation starts on Thursday morning.”

The former Leeds United manager also passed on his congratulations to the club’s youth set-up, after the under 18s clinched the EFL Youth Alliance title with a win over Burton Albion on Saturday. 

“I think the good thing is, it’s not about winning. It’s about player development and getting players ready to join into the under 21s and into the senior squad. 

“But you’re always doing a lot right if you’re winning those competitions because it means you have the best players. The best players normally win promotions and titles. 

“I’m really pleased for the kids, I’m pleased for the staff and I’m pleased for the parents of the kids.”

Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s news conference in its entirety. 

To purchase your tickets for this Saturday's game, login to www.stagstickets.co.uk.

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