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Gaffer predicts significant pre-season week

17 July 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans says this week is a 'pivotal' part of pre-season as his squad begin to increase their number of minutes on the pitch.

Saturday's visit of strong Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday provided the new-look Stags with a great test against good opposition, despite the Owls eventually running out 3-2 winners.

And with four matches pencilled in during a packed pre-season schedule this week, the gaffer: "There's always a pivotal week in pre-season; this is our week. We're asking players to step up and get between that 75 and 90 minute mark," the Stags' chief said.

"Some will be asked to go through the pain barrier and get to the 90 [minute mark] because their type of bodies need it.

"By the time we have our open day here with the supporters on Sunday, we should hopefully be thinking we've got all the players on the training field on the open day and everyone's had almost two 90 minutes in their belt. The target is always a minimum of three 90 minutes and a couple of 45s [before the start of the season] and we're still on target."

Stags travel to Evo-Stik Southern League side Stocksbridge Park Steels on Tuesday evening before welcoming Championship side Middlesbrough to One Call Stadium on Wednesday night and the boss says the squad will be split between the two games.

"I can say that all the squad will travel to Stocksbridge and all the squad will be here for the Middlesbrough game and they'll train in between times of course.

"There's always a pivotal week in pre-season; this is our week. We're asking players to step up and get between that 75 and 90 minute mark."

Steve Evans, manager

"So we'll be up there (at Stocksbridge) – myself and Paul [Raynor] will take the team so that's probably indicative of the squad that will travel. There'll be a lot of first team players travelling and we're going to travel up nice and early and prepare properly and see if we can win a game.

"Every game now is massively important. It's very important because it's now important to us about the minutes on the pitch. We probably go by the Stocksbridge games and the Middlesbrough games and we get to Stamford and Nottingham Forest and we then have to start to think of Crewe.

"We then have to start thinking [about what] we've got, certainly in training and certainly in periods of matches, where we've got people in positions and in boxes where we're looking to play them. This is a big, big week for us up until Saturday evening and if we can come through Saturday evening with all the boys fit and available and if we've produced, in patches, good performances from everyone, then I'll be pleased."

The manager revealed last week that the club are working hard to bring further additions to One Call Stadium and this afternoon, the former Leeds United boss stated that a deal has been agreed for one player in particular.

"We're in a little bit of a chain. We're quite confident that the chief executive (Carolyn Radford) has come to an agreement, certainly for one of them and [we're] close on another, but we're in a chain. They have to go and get their targets.

"We'll give it a few more days – probably until Thursday or Friday – and if they've not got something positive to report, then we will look at other targets on our list."

Former Plymouth Argyle winger Jordan Slew appeared for the Stags against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday as a trialist and the boss confirmed that the 24-year-old is still training with the club.

"We said we'd have a look at him and that's what we're going to do. We'll have a look at him through to the weekend but we'll give him some minutes on the pitch, as opposed to five or ten-minute cameo appearances where it's difficult.

"It has to be said, he's trained particularly well. Can we do something if we want to do it? Yes, absolutely. Are we ready to do something? No, we need to see more."

Supporters will be able to view the gaffer's full news conference on iFollow Stags later this evening.


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