Stags’ boss Steve Evans believes his side are going into the final part of the season in ‘terrific form’ as the race for the play-offs continues to gain momentum.
Saturday’s 3-1 win over Morecambe saw Stags record back-to-back league wins for the first time in six weeks, despite displaying exceptional performances during that period.
And with just seven games remaining of the Sky Bet League Two season, the manager believes his side are hitting form just at the right time with all four play-off spots still up for grabs.
“We’re going into this stage of the season in terrific form. Our results could have been better in the last few weeks, but our performances are good as we’ve played since we walked in,” the Stags’ chief said.
“I’ve said near and I’ve said far for the best part of six weeks now, some of our play has been outstanding and we’ve not had the rewards but the players got the rewards on Saturday and they’re a fantastic group, so they deserve that win.
“We want to be in a position on Saturday night when our supporters go home and we’re in the mix in the play-offs.
“The games are getting less and less and we know for us to get in there, we have to take on the best and, on the majority of occasions, beat the best.
“We’re not going to win all of these games and it’ll be how we react when we lose a game but every time we win a game, it gives us a better opportunity of getting in there.”
After defender Krystian Pearce and captain Lee Collins travelled to Morecambe on Saturday but didn’t feature in the matchday squad, the gaffer provided an update on their respective injuries at this morning’s news conference.
“We should look at Krystian being back in the fold by Saturday. Lee Collins, we should have him on the grass tomorrow and then we’ll see how he shapes up on Thursday and Friday.
“We’re together in the dressing room; we’re together on the pitch and off the pitch. There was nobody more pleased with the balls going in the back of the net.
“I looked behind me and I saw Lee Collins and Krystian Pearce both celebrating, in the dressing room they’re hugging the players and there is that togetherness.
“The boys have accepted that it doesn’t matter who wears the shirt, who goes out there and plays, they have to give all for the cause and on and off the pitch we win.”
Moving focus away from his own squad, the former Leeds United boss congratulated our under 18s for their excellent 2-1 win over Oldham Athletic on Saturday, which saw academy manager John Dempster’s side move to the top of the EFL Youth Alliance.
“I messaged John Dempster as soon as Mark Stevenson told me the result on Saturday. I was buzzing for them. Not just for John but for the players; they’re the boys that have to go out and do it, and Mike Whitlow and Coops (Richard Cooper) and people like that.
“They work so hard with the youth structure and you want them to do really well. If it’s got a Mansfield Town crest on it, whether it’s under 9s, under 15s, ladies, whatever it is, we want them to win if they wear our badge.
“When we’ve not got [an under] 23s or reserve game, we have our players playing against the best of the youth structure and we get an opportunity to look at them at first hand.
“It’s why the young boy [Lewis] Collins is training with us on a daily basis because he was outstanding on a couple of occasions with us. From that point of view, we have to be ‘all over it’ because we want some of those boys into the first team.”
Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s full news conference.