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Stags need to be fresh for tough Vale task - gaffer

20 November 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans believes our match away at Port Vale is 'as tough a fixture as any' in Sky Bet League Two tomorrow night.

The Valiants sit joint top of the Sky Bet League Two form table over the last six games with 13 points, losing just once.

And the gaffer says that tomorrow night's clash against Neil Aspin's side (7.45pm kick-off) will be a challenging encounter for his players.

"They've got an outstanding squad of players and I think everyone tipped Port Vale to be in the top 10 at the start of the season," the Stags' chief said.

"I was one of them that's always respected how tight a game it is at the Potteries. When you see the likes of Popey (Tom Pope) going back there and you see David Worrall, who at Rotherham we paid six figures for, you see the quality they've got in the camp.

"The boy [Tyler] Denton out of Leeds is as good as anyone and he's not been featuring, so it shows the qualities they've got.

"They're now playing with a lot of confidence, because the results bring that and it'll be as tough a fixture as anyone in the league has tomorrow night."

Although the gaffer recognises the quality in the Valiants' side, he believes the most influential factor in Vale's upturn in form has been the appointment of Neil Aspin as the club's manager.

"The biggest factor is, for me, the manager. He's gone in there and he's got them playing a style of football that suits the individuals they've signed.

"They're now playing with a lot of confidence, because the results bring that and it'll be as tough a fixture as anyone in the league has tomorrow night."

Steve Evans, manager

"I've always had a high regard for him, both as a player and the brief dealings I had with him when he was at Gateshead. We tried to take a player out of there and we talked about maybe loaning one or two [to them] in his time there.

"We'd have rather gone there before Neil was appointed, that's for sure. I think managers around the league, when I spoke to them, when they were going to Port Vale were looking forward to it – no-one is now."

The former Leeds United manager will freshen his team for Tuesday's match after seeing his side battle for three points in Saturday's 1-0 win over Stevenage.

"We'll go there, we'll make some changes to what we're going to do tomorrow night, we'll be as fresh as we can and we'll try and make sure that we're there to compete. It's a tough evening for us, for sure.

"We'll make changes tomorrow. We have to be fresh in our approach. There will be some players, in terms of energy, who will have worked so hard here on Saturday that even when we train today, they'll still be feeling the effects of that, and that's normal.

"Some can deal with it more than others and it'll be the ones who we don't think can deal with it, in consultation with the fitness team and the medical team, that we'll make changes. We'll be changing good players for good players."

Striker Lee Angol will be the only absentee for the Stags, however the gaffer revealed that the former Peterborough United man is 'almost there' in his recovery from a knee injury.

Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full news conference later today.


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