Mansfield manager Steve Evans has intimated that 'six or seven' of his squad are already set for a starting spot when the Stags take on Crewe Alexandra in the first game of the new League season next month.
The Stags travel to Alexandra Stadium for the League Two opener aiming to get off to a positive start and build on last season’s 12th place finish having narrowly missed out on the play-offs.
The One Call Stadium boss was speaking post match at Matlock Town, where his side won 4-0, whilst another first team XI beat Gainsborough by the same scoreline.
“I’ve got six or seven in the team already [for the starting line-up at Crewe] – some of them are at Gainsborough,” said the Stags' chief.
"It probably took us about an hour for us to realise that we were playing for places at Crewe."
“I've come here tonight [to Matlock]. David Mirfin has been out with a bad virus and lost nearly four kilos of weight and I came to make sure he was OK, and I’ve come [to Matlock] to look at one or two things that I wanted to look at. There were certain things across the midfield that I wanted to look at first hand.
“If you look at the people at Gainsborough, I pretty much know inside out what most of them could do with the exception of course being [Omari] Sterling-James. But I’ve told our supporters many times that he’s going to be a huge player for this club. I’ve been told by Richard Cooper [U21s' coach] that he’s been absolutely sensational tonight, along with Alfie Potter.
“We’ve had the debrief from Gainsborough and there’s been some very good individual performances, which is great because, as I said before the game, there’ll be a mix of the two teams that line-up at Crewe.”
Striker Lee Angol opened and finished the scoring at Matlock, while midfieldersWill Atkinson and Jacob Mellis were also on target in the second half as the Stags came through a fiery encounter unscathed.
Gladiators’ midfielder Callum Lloyd was shown a straight red card after the interval for a rash challenge on Mellis, a decision that proved to be the turning point as the visitors made their numerical advantage pay.
“I think it probably flattered us a little bit – it probably took us about an hour for us to realise that we were playing for places at Crewe,” continued Evans.
“Like with Forest the other week, we got the second goal and the game opened up and then it could have perhaps been any score; we hit the bar and missed a couple of good chances. But it’s 90 minutes – hopefully everyone wakes up tomorrow injury free.”
“There’s big pluses for us all over tonight, in terms of we’ve scored eight goals and not conceded.
“As far as we know we’ve come through injury free. We’ll probably play a 60 and a 30 at Alfreton, and the same at Rainworth in midweek because we’ve got to be respectful to them as well. But after Alfreton we’ll pretty much know where we’re at.
While the manager is facing a welcome selection dilemma on the field, he admits that a decision has almost been made on trialist Jordan Slew.
The 24-year-old striker left Plymouth Argyle at the end of last season following their promotion from League Two.
“I’ve got a meeting with the Chairman and the Chief Executive tomorrow on a number of transfer matters, and that’s obviously the top end of it because we have to be very respectful as to whether we’ll do something with Jordan or not,” said Evans.
“I need to sit down with the Chairman, we’ll share our thoughts and between Paul Rayner, myself, the Chairman and the Chief Executive, we’ll make a decision that’s right for us.”
Subscribers to iFollow Stags can watch the manager's interview in full.