Stags’ boss Steve Evans says tomorrow’s Checkatrade Trophy tie against Oldham Athletic (7.45pm kick-off) presents his squad with the chance to stake a claim for a starting spot against Notts County.
The manager has revealed that he will be making changes for the visit of the Latics as he looks to freshen up the starting XI which played against both Blackpool and Crewe Alexandra over the last week.
New midfielders Joel Byrom and Ben Whiteman are cup-tied for the fixture as they appeared for Northampton Town and Sheffield United, respectively, in the earlier stages of the competition and the Stags’ boss says tomorrow’s match gives players the opportunity to impress him.
“We have to make changes - we’ve got some players cup-tied and I want to freshen the team up, but there’s rules to be respected in the competition. We know we’ll play against a full-strength Oldham side,” the Stags’ manager said.
“I don’t think whether we progress in this competition will be about what Oldham Athletic do tomorrow night, it will be about how we play and what we do. Will players grab an opportunity to stake a claim for their place in the team at Notts County on Saturday?
“There’s competition to be in the team; we’re going to make some changes and people will get a platform and they have to produce.”
After seeing Whiteman and striker Yoann Arquin score on their home debuts on Saturday, the gaffer says the aim is for the new signings to contribute towards ‘a solid base’ in his playing squad.
“It’s not fully the ‘Steve Evans project’ yet because we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ve signed three or four players and whether any of those four will ultimately be successful with us is determined by those guys. It’s very similar to anyone thinking of buying a house or building a house; if you don’t get the base right then the house will fall down.
“We’re gradually building the base, we’re gradually putting blocks in place which are quite firm and strong and good for the level and if we can continue to do that, we’ll get better.”
The former Crawley Town manager has also provided supporters with an update on the two cash bids which he submitted for players last Monday, admitting that one of his targets has chosen to join a club in a higher division.
“One’s obviously decided to go somewhere else, so he’s away. The other one: [his club is] trying to do some business and our offer would be acceptable but they’re trying to get someone in.
“We’re in a little bit of a chain and that tends to be [the case] when you are in League Two. A lot of times if you’re in the Championship, you’re controlling a lot of it because you’re the head of that chain, but again it’s no different to house moves.
“We’re in a chain and we’ve got a manager saying if he gets his target, we can have ours. Ours, in respect of his personal terms with his representatives when we were given permission to speak [to him], is done. It’s a case of the other club getting their business done.”