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Boss to relish home double-header

9 February 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans says the upcoming home double-header against Hartlepool United and Accrington Stanley could have a big impact on the rest of the season.

Stags are yet to taste defeat in Sky Bet League Two in 2017 and now face Pools and Accrington in the space of just four days at One Call Stadium as they sit just two points outside the play-off places. 

And the gaffer says the two home fixtures gives Stags the opportunity to both climb the league table and also further increase confidence in the squad. 

“We’ve got two games at home in the space of four or five days that could have a massive impact, not only inside the camp but in terms of league positions and things like that,” the Stags’ chief said.

“All we can do is focus on ourselves. I said it prior to Barnet, we cannot focus on whatever happens around the country. 

“We have to look after ourselves in these two home games and the only priority is Saturday against Hartlepool. 

“We’re desperate for a win, we’ve not won since last Saturday and when you’re winning games, it becomes like a drug, winning. The dressing room, as we evolve, will start to find that out.”

Earlier this week, chairman John Radford launched another ‘buy one, get one free’ offer for the home matches against Accrington and Newport County later this month and the manager has lauded the generosity of both the owner and the chief executive, Carolyn Radford. 

“It’s a fantastic and generous offer by John Radford and Carolyn Radford, there’s not too many owners who have been crying since last July and August to see their team win on a Saturday on a regular basis so they can enjoy their weekends. 

“I’ve often said, they’ve got everything in life. They’ve got each other, they’ve got beautiful children, they have fantastic businesses and a real happiness about them – it’s infectious and it makes people want to be happy too. 

“What they never had was a winning football team on the back of that and what they didn’t have is Mansfield Town supporters in a real happy frame of mind. 

“What we’ve seen in the last ‘buy one, get one free’ offer is an excellent home performance, an excellent three points and we saw everyone leave the One Call Stadium in a really happy mood.”

Saturday’s visitors Hartlepool United have picked up four points from their last three games since the arrival of new manager Dave Jones and our boss says Stags will face a tough challenge against who he believes is the most experienced manager in Sky Bet League Two. 

“They’ve had their day in the week off so we’ve come back in this morning really fresh and with a real focus to come up against who I described in my programme notes for Saturday as the most experienced manager in League Two you could imagine in Dave Jones. 

“I thought he did a wonderful job at Sheffield Wednesday and obviously lost his job when new owners came in and the big investment came in. 

“You never, ever forget the experienced guys in the game and the one thing we do know is Hartlepool will come here on Saturday and they’ll be organised, they’ll be efficient and that’s led by a manager who knows this game inside out.”

Furthermore, the boss confirmed that neither Kyle Howkins or George Taft will be available for the visit of the Pools, but hopes to have both players fighting for a place in the matchday squad next week. 

"Tafty’s [George Taft] probably looking at the following week at Grimsby as perhaps being available but we won’t get them on the bench if they’re not deserving of it.

“The way it worked last time with Kyle [Howkins] was he played [for West Brom's under 23s] and then he was straight back with us. They [West Brom] just want to see him in a competitive game. So he’ll play on Monday and his first available option for us will be Tuesday night.”

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

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