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Boss targets 70 points for top seven finish

23 March 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans believes ending the season with more than 70 points will give any side ‘a real chance’ of finishing in the Sky Bet League Two top seven.

Stags currently have 55 points with eight games remaining and a win at Morecambe on Saturday could see them draw level on points with Exeter City in seventh place. 

And the gaffer says that his side are in charge of their own destiny, with five of the top seven still to play. 

“I think if you’re north of 70 you’ve got a real chance of going in in sixth or seventh. There’s a lot of football to be played. We’re in charge of our own destiny; we control it by who we play. 

“We come out of Morecambe and we play the top group. We’ve got Exeter to come, Doncaster followed by Wycombe, Luton, Portsmouth, Stevenage, we’ve got them all to play bar the last day. 

“From our point of view, we just have to remain focussed. We have to go to Morecambe, the boys know they have to be up for the game, be competitive, then we come out of Morecambe and if we’ve added to our points tally by one, it’s good. If it’s three, it’s very good [and[ if it’s three, we’re bang in the mix with Exeter to come.”

Tuesday’s 3-2 Central League win over Chesterfield provided Stags with the chance to give minutes on the pitch to players who have found game-time hard to come by and the boss was pleased with what he saw. 

“It was important that the players got an opportunity to get some game time and we used it for different reasons. We used it to, for example, Kyle Howkins went and got 60 minutes which is great for him, because he obviously got threw into the action on Saturday.

“It’s quite interesting; you look at certain players and you’re looking at how far they’ve come. We’ve never hidden the fact that we’ve worked so hard with Alex MacDonald who’s been wonderful in some spells in the games recently and young Alfie Potter. 

“On Tuesday [we were] watching the Alfie Potter we know.”

The manager knows Saturday’s game against the Shrimps will be a tough test for his side, and complimented their manager Jim Bentley for his approach to the game. 

“Morecambe’s got good players, I can’t give the management team any higher compliments than to say Jim Bentley should be managing, for me, at a higher level. I think he performs miracles at the football club and Kenny McKenna, his assistant there; they’re wonderful guys, hard-working guys, you see them everywhere.

“I’m not building them up to be what they’re not but to go to Morecambe is a real difficult place to go for any team and we’ll need to be at our best to come away with something.”

Finally, the former Leeds United boss revealed that defender Krystian Pearce could be in contention for Saturday, but skipper Lee Collins will miss out.

“We’re hoping that Krystian Pearce will train today, so that could be good for us as well because you can’t beat competition for places. 

“I think Lee will miss [the game]. Lee’s probably got a chance of next Saturday but Krystian’s been up in my office saying he wants to train. I’ve said to him, I always believe when you’ve got the experience that Krystian’s got, then the final decisions always come down to him. 

“Medical staff have to guide you and lead you, but sometimes you have to let people have their heads because pain thresholds are different in different people. We’ve said let’s go out and train and see how it is. I think he’s quietly confident he could be available, but if he doesn’t feel right in training today we’ll take him out the mix.”

Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s news conference, in full. 


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