Stags’ boss Steve Evans says he is expecting a physical contest tomorrow evening when his side battle with Wycombe Wanderers for a place in the semi-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy.
The Chairboys visit One Call Stadium tomorrow (7.45pm kick-off) in the quarter finals of the Checkatrade Trophy with both sides currently enjoying a good run of form. Stags are yet to taste defeat in 2017 and are on a six-match unbeaten run which has included conceding just two goals. Wycombe, meanwhile, are unbeaten in 15 games in all competitions after last falling to defeat in November 2016 against Coventry City.
And the boss says he is expecting a physical encounter against Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe as the two sides vie for a a semi-final berth.
“The one thing the Wycombe Wanderers’ players will realise, I can say it now before they get on the coach, this game will be physical tomorrow night," the Stags' chief said.
“It’s an important game for us and it’s an important game for Wycombe Wanderers. They have a big week and we have a big week. They obviously have two cup ties; they’ve got ourselves and then they go to Tottenham.
“For us, it’s important so we’ll be physical and we’ll be strong and if it ends up that they can’t come through it and they miss the Tottenham game, so be it. I’m sure Gareth will have addressed his players like that.”
The gaffer is refusing to look too far ahead with a potential Wembley visit just two games away, instead placing his entire focus on tomorrow night’s quarter final.
“I only look at it as there’s two teams in it at the minute – there’s us and Wycombe. I don’t think we can affect whatever happens with the other six teams, but we can affect what happens tomorrow night and we can get ourselves in the draw for the semi-finals.
“We have to earn that; no-one’s going to give us that, no-one’s going to give Wycombe it. It’s a real tough game for us. We’re playing a team in League Two who are higher up in the table than us by some way, that are 15 games unbeaten and are playing with real confidence.”
After stating on Friday afternoon that he’d placed negotiations for a number of players on hold, the Stags’ chief has provided an update on the player who he was set to speak to on Sunday afternoon.
“We’ve had a chat and he’s gone back in for a further chat with his club today. I’ve told him I’ll pick him up on Wednesday, as in pick it up with him, not pick him up!
“He’s gone for a chat with his club today and I don’t really want to talk to him now, I want to leave him with the conversation we’ve had and I want to have real focus on the Wycombe Wanderers game.”
The former Leeds United manager revealed that the club with which a £300,000 bid has been lodged for one of their players has until Wednesday to either accept or decline the offer, whilst also dismissing the rumours that the bid was for Peterborough United forward Paul Taylor.
“The deadline we’ve given them is Wednesday and if we don’t hear anything back on Wednesday, my recommendation to John Radford is we’ll walk away.
“We made our bid with respect via the chairman and we have to be treated with respect. We gave a deadline and we have to stick to that deadline, otherwise don’t put a deadline on it.”
Stags will be without new signings Joel Byrom, Ben Whiteman, Hayden White and Shaquile Coulthirst for the Checkatrade Trophy fixture as they are all cup-tied after appearing for their former clubs in previous rounds, meaning boss Steve Evans will make changes to the side which beat Cambridge United at the weekend.
Finally, the boss has urged supporters to continue their fantastic backing of the Stags in recent weeks by turning out in high numbers for tomorrow’s game against Wycombe.
“Stags’ fans have been tremendous. We’re going to need our supporters to come out in good numbers tomorrow night. We know it’s a competition that’s not graced delights in the early parts of it, but when you get to the later stages of it, it’s important for the club. It’s important for the town and if we can have a big performance tomorrow night, it will be about what we do. If we have a big performance, we’ll be in the next round.”
Supporters can view manager Steve Evans’ news conference, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.