Stags’ boss Steve Evans says the club’s supporters are ‘entitled to dream’ after this evening’s 2-0 win over Oldham Athletic saw them progress into the quarter finals of the Checkatrade Trophy.
A brace of late headers from striker Pat Hoban ensured the Stags booked their place in the quarter finals of the competition by defeating League One side Oldham.
And with the Stags now just two games away from a potential Wembley final, the manager says all football fans should be allowed to dream of success.
“Any team can win it but football fans should always been allowed to dream. I think if you’re any supporter in the country you should be entitled to dream about what your team can achieve, that’s part of being a football supporter,” the Stags’ chief said.
“We can always dream and our supporters are entitled to go home saying we’re in the next round. I don’t really mind who we get as long as it’s at the One Call Stadium. I think if we’re at home, we seem to have a period in the game where we can lift it and tonight we did that.
“Many people thought when we got Carlisle away we’d go out and of course we’ve beaten the team in the league above. They (Oldham) might be struggling a little bit in League One but they’re a team that’s probably not had the results that their recent performances deserve.”
Without being particularly pleased with his side’s performance against the Latics, the gaffer praised his players' workmanlike attitude against a defensive Oldham unit.
“I don’t think Stags’ fans would appreciate me coming out saying it was a good performance or a good cup tie – it wasn’t.
“It was a very workmanlike performance and what I said to the players there is we worked extremely hard and we were probably not as smart as I would like. But what I would say is from 7.45pm there was one team trying to win the cup tie and there was one team trying to go to penalty kicks.
“I think we got our rewards. I just said to the players: you got your rewards for trying to win the cup tie.”
The boss says they won’t know the extent of the injury suffered by defender Kyle Howkins until the morning but he commended the performance of fellow defender Rhys Bennett, who moved across to centre-half to cover for the substituted West Bromwich Albion loanee.
“We don’t know how Kyle will be until he wakes up tomorrow. We’ll worry about that going forward and if we need to go into the market if there’s something up with Kyle, then we will. We don’t think it’s too serious.
“I watched the kid (Rhys Bennett) at Rochdale at centre-half many times and he was outstanding and in fact, when he went in at centre-back tonight, I thought he was outstanding for the last 15 minutes.
“I’ve got to trust all my players. It’s a word that perhaps is often used in football and not really meant by the coaches but if you’re in this building, we have to trust you, we have to be able to put you on the pitch.
“I heard [a rumour] in the week that Jack Thomas was leaving but he’s come on to the pitch at a key time for us this evening and I thought he did really well.”
Supporters can view Steve Evans’ post-match interview, in full, on Stags PlayerHD.