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Gaffer wants Glovers’ match to spark unbeaten run

12 December 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans wants his players to prove a point on Saturday against Yeovil Town as they aim to return to winning ways after their seven-match unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two came to an end last week.

The 2-0 defeat to Crawley Town was Stags' first league defeat for almost two months and they now have back-to-back home games before Christmas as they bid to return to the play-off group.

And the gaffer has promised changes to his starting line-up for the visit of the Glovers and wants his players to prove a point after last week's defeat in West Sussex.

"It's now about working hard this week and getting ready for Yeovil on Saturday. We want to try and win a couple of games pre-Christmas and if we do that, we'll be in the top four or five.

"We've got 21 or 22 lads competing for a place on Saturday. We have to create a mentality that it's one game at a time. We've got enough characters in the dressing room to bounce back after Saturday, we bounced back after Swindon didn't we?

"There's a lot of players that are going to have a point to prove. Some of them, unfortunately, are going to have to prove a point sitting up in the Ian Greaves Stand with a big coat on because they won't be involved. There will be changes for Saturday, there's got to be.

"We've got enough characters in the dressing room to bounce back after Saturday, we bounced back after Swindon didn't we?"

Steve Evans, manager

"We've 24/25 games in now as a group. We're going to get into a period very, very soon, where in the next four weeks we'll be saying 'right, these errors should be out of our system'.

"The big part will be what we want to do. If we turn up properly and we have eight or nine play well, we'll win. If we don't, we'll get beat."

The boss revealed that midfielder Joel Byrom will still be unavailable for Saturday's match as he continues his recovery from a groin injury, but he is hopeful that striker Kane Hemmings could be available after 'feeling his calf' in training last Friday.

"Joel's maybe still a couple of weeks away. Joel had a little nasty tear on his groin. We miss Joel Byrom; we miss him like you'd miss a tissue on a wet, windy night when your nose is running, so we miss Joel Byrom. He's doing everything he can to be fit and the sooner the better for me.

"Kane trained on Friday morning and he just felt his other calf. There are no pulls, no strains, it's a strange one for everyone. It baffled the medical team and if it baffled the head of medical in Dan Kett, then it certainly does that to me!

"We can't take chances; all our players are too important. None of them deserve to be taken chances [on] unless we're into the last game or two of the season."

Hemmings, who is on loan from Oxford United, can be recalled by the U's next month and the manager revealed this morning that no decision has yet been made on the striker's future beyond January.

"I think it's the third week in January that that agreement's in place. I'll probably have a chat with Pep [Clotet, Oxford manager] when we get into January. We're very clear, we'd like to keep Kane.

"We were just starting to get him fit, he's starting to get goals and it's a shame he pulls up with his calf because he was just starting to look a real threat. He's a proper striker for this level and we worked so hard to get him in the condition he is.

"We'll respect the thoughts of Oxford United Football Club, there's good people there. I know Kane would like to stay but we respect Pep and Oxford too much to say that we have anything to do with the decision, that lies in the hands of his parent club."

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


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