Stags’ boss Steve Evans says Saturday’s local derby against Notts County is a day for the supporters as he prepares his side to give the club’s fans a day to remember.
A run of three consecutive victories have begun to build momentum going into the local derby as Stags look to close the gap on the Sky Bet League Two top seven.
And the manager wants to reward the fans’ terrific support since he joined the club with a victory over our Nottinghamshire counterparts.
“We play a lot of league games and we’re as passionate about every league game that comes, but local derbies are always special,” the Stags' chief said.
“It’s the fans’ derby, it always will be. It gives them the good feelings over the weekend and going into work when they see supporters of the other club, that’s always great.
“I’ve been very fortunate; I’ve won local derbies at every club I’ve managed and this is the first big local derby here that I would say is a local derby and we want to win this because it does give you that extra bounce.
"It’s a proper derby. There’ll be a terrific atmosphere, we’re looking forward to it and we want to win and we want to win for our supporters. I’ve always maintained this: derby day is supporters’ day.
“Our supporters have been great since the day I walked in. The numbers we took up to Blackpool were admirable over the bank holiday at the New Year period.”
The gaffer spoke about the threat which Notts would pose as they were set to appoint former West Ham United skipper Kevin Nolan as boss, which the Magpies subsequently confirmed after our news conference ended this afternoon.
"I think it’s always good when you see a football club get a bit of a rescue package with someone stepping in and probably Alan Hardy, I don’t know the man, but he’ll be spending his hard-earned money in saving a football club that he’s a big fan of and loves dearly.
“He’s going to appoint Kevin Nolan – I don’t think that’s a secret anymore within the game. We look forward to seeing Kevin on Saturday and he’ll have his troops ready to go into battle.
“It’s always going to be fiercely competitive but we have to go there and remind our players that as much as we have to play with our hearts and determination, we have to play with our brains as well."
Speaking to the assembled media, the manager revealed that defender Kyle Howkins will miss the trip to Meadow Lane with a knee injury which he picked up in Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy win over Oldham Athletic.
“There’s no point me saying to the supporters we don’t know, we do know [about Howkins' injury]. It’s his other knee. It was the nature of the force of the tackle, it was a fantastic tackle. He just twisted slightly but we’re probably talking 10 days to two weeks [out], two-and-a-half weeks max.
“When we came in, Kyle was suspended and injured at the same time and we couldn’t get a good look at him. We had to work hard with him on his fitness levels to get him up to match speed.
“I think he was just starting to become outstanding in a couple of games and it’s a shame he’s gone out but he’ll come back in two or three weeks and be outstanding again.”
Winger CJ Hamilton has been one of the Stags’ stand-out performers in recent weeks and the gaffer today revealed that he has rebuffed a number of enquiries about the former Sheffield United wideman.
“I’ve made it absolutely clear to people that have called me up in the last 48 hours that he’s not going anywhere. He’s going to be with Mansfield Town for a lot longer and we’re going to build on it. He’s not going to be sold from under us when he’s hitting the type of form that he’s hitting.
“We’ve had more than tentative approaches about CJ - we’ve had people want to take him and buy him, but we’ve made it clear it’s ‘no’. We’ve [also] had one or two enquiries about other players that have been in the team in recent weeks.
"I’m in a nice position – I speak to the chairman and the first thing the chairman says is ‘do you want to do some business in this?’ and I say ‘no’ and he says ‘ok, I’ll speak to you later’.”
Supporters can now view manager Steve Evans’ news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.