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Gaffer set for battle between promotion kings

5 December 2017

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans is looking forward to battling with his 'good friend Neil Warnock' in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup after Stags were paired with Championship side Cardiff City in last night's draw.

After reaching the third round for the first time in five years with a 3-0 win over National League side Guiseley on Sunday, Stags were drawn away to the Cardiff in Monday night's third round draw, which will take place on the weekend of 06 January 2018.

And with a combined 16 promotions between the pair, the gaffer believes Neil Warnock's high-flying Bluebirds will provide his charges with a 'formidable task'.

"I wouldn't have minded Neil Warnock bringing his troops here but we're going to a club that's second in the Championship against a man that is a personal friend, who I have a fantastic relationship with," the Stags' chief said.

"Neil Warnock is, in my opinion, a fantastic manager. Everywhere he's been, he's been hugely successful and he will be at Cardiff. I said back in [the summer] on national television that he would take Cardiff to the Premier League at the end of this season and I still believe that.

"It's a formidable task but I have a lot of respect for Cardiff City, the people behind-the-scenes and none more so than the manager himself and all his staff."

Steve Evans, manager

"He's a fantastic manager, he's a real good man and how do you judge that? When you have down days, and we all have down days, Neil Warnock's been there for me as a friend and that's when it's important.

"It's a formidable task but I have a lot of respect for Cardiff City, the people behind-the-scenes and none more so than the manager himself and all his staff. We look forward to seeing them and doing battle on the day.

"We look forward to it, but we'll worry about it when we drive out of this stadium after we play Carlisle on the first."

Stags take on Blackpool in the Checkatrade Trophy in the first of back-to-back away matches tomorrow night and although the manager has admitted to planning wholesale changes for the fixture, he wants the players involved to prove why they should be in the starting XI for Saturday's Sky Bet League Two clash with Crawley Town.

"We'll make changes. It's nothing other than we're in a series where there's a lot of football and a lot of football to come. When you've got really good players not getting in, there comes weeks and opportunities where they can play.

"What an opportunity it's going to be for some of them – because what I will say is we might make 10 or 11 changes, but three or four of them will start on Saturday, that's the nature of the game here. If you play well, you keep the shirt."

Frontman Lee Angol will travel to Lancashire with the squad after recovering from his knee injury, whilst fellow striker Kane Hemmings could make the trip to the coast depending on his performance in training this afternoon.

"Lee Angol will be with us. Certainly Jacob Mellis is fit now, he wasn't quite there on Sunday, which is the real reason why I didn't put him on the pitch.

"The people that's in there (the treatment room) would be Joel Byrom, who possibly might be [fit] for Saturday, but if not, hopefully for Saturday-week.

"Kane will be there for Saturday, I don't have any doubts about that. Will he be on the coach tomorrow night? I suppose he's desperately waiting for me to tell him whether he's going in the cold weather up to Blackpool [or not]. If Kane trains properly today, he'll be on the coach. If Kane is 100 percent, Kane will be on the team-sheet at Blackpool."

Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full news conference later today.


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