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Club News

Stags close to full strength ahead of big match

9 March 2017

Club News

Stags close to full strength ahead of big match

9 March 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans has a near-full complement of players to choose from for Saturday's home match against Plymouth Argyle, with only goalkeeper Jake Kean unavailable through injury.

After defender Kyle Howkins returned to the Stags' squad to take a place on the bench against Cheltenham last week, fellow centre-back George Taft has now fully recovered from his hamstring injury, whilst strikers Matt Green and Danny Rose have returned to full training since their respective groin and hamstring strains.

And the boss says having the quartet return from injury is like having four new players enter the dressing room.

“Obviously they’ve (Green and Rose) missed some game-time but both have trained, both have looked quite sharp in training and we’ll assess them today and make sure again tomorrow," the Stags' manager said.

“We’ll pick almost – almost – from an entire squad. There’s only Jake that will be missing and not available to us. 

“The rest are available, which is including the likes of [Kyle] Howkins and including the likes of [George] Taft. From last week to this week, we’ve got four new players in the dressing room.”

With Saturday’s home match against Plymouth Argyle marking the start of an '11-game season', the manager says he has used the time since last week’s draw at Cheltenham to freshen up his squad. 

“This is now an 11-game season for us now. You could say that’s the same for others but that’s what it comes down to. We need to deal with the next four or five games in March and make sure that we give ourselves the chance in April to be involved in squeaky bum time.

“Because of the form since January – we’ve lost one since Boxing Day – that’s given us a chance to be involved at an exciting time.

“We’ve used it (the time since the Cheltenham game) to get some good work in to the players but also to make sure that mentally and physically they’re sharp and they’re ready."

The former Leeds United boss believes that Saturday’s visitors are ‘one of the best two teams in the league’ and has urged Stags’ fans to take advantage of the club’s superb ‘buy one, get one free’ ticket offer for a match which he believes has the hallmarks to be a ‘great game’. 

“Derek [Adams, Plymouth boss] and Craig [Brewster, Argyle assistant manager] will have them focussed and they’ll have done their homework on what we’re going to try and do but it’s got the hallmarks of being a great game at this stage of the football [season]. 

“My responsibility is the team and it would be wonderful to be backed by a big support. I said to the Mansfield public – can we have the best crowd of the season? That’s going to be tough because we’ve had local derbies against the likes of Notts County here. 

“We can do our best to drag a neighbour along, if you look across the road and someone’s doing their garden – get them down to the One Call Stadium on Saturday. 

“This is their town, this is their team and we’re going to need to make sure that we’re the supporters who are creating the atmosphere for our players in what is sure to be, potentially, a wonderful game of football.”

Boss Steve Evans’ full news conference is available to view on Stags PlayerHD. 

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