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Gaffer targets place in top group

12 October 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans has earmarked an average of two points per game over the next 'seven or eight' matches for his side to claim a spot in the upper echelons of Sky Bet League Two.

Over the last seven matches, Stags have averaged 1.9 points per game, a fraction short of the two-point average which would yield an almost certain promotion-winning total of 92 points across the season.

And the manager says he will be 'buzzing' if his side achieve his target of two points per game over the next eight fixtures, believing that would lead to a spot amongst the top group in Sky Bet League Two.

"We've almost averaged two points a game in the last seven games and it's not enough. We take it back seven or eight games and I think we're a fraction away from two points' average.

"Two points' average takes you to promotion and we're a long way short of the consistency levels we need to achieve if we want to be in that top group at the end [of the season].

"I've always said: let's deal with the home games. Let's get three points on the board, anything you get on the road is a bonus and if I'm sitting here in seven or eight games' time and we've averaged two points for the next seven or eight, I'll be buzzing because we'll be in the top group."

Stags welcome Swindon Town to One Call Stadium on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off) and the gaffer is expecting a side who are capable of deploying contrasting styles of play.

"It will be a passing style but they'll go direct when they have to. They like to get the ball down and play but when they need to go forward early – and they have done in certain games, we've seen that – then they'll do it.

"They're technically decent, they're relaxed in their approach but they'll be coming here to take our 'coal'.

"If I'm sitting here in seven or eight games' time and we've averaged two points for the next seven or eight, I'll be buzzing because we'll be in the top group."

Steve Evans, manager

"They've signed good players; that always gives you a chance of winning a game. They've got a good manager (David Flitcroft), they're a good football club with a really good chairman (Lee Power) and supporters who will travel here in good numbers and get behind their team.

"It presents us with another opportunity to play against, what has to be said, a top side. This is an ex-Premier League club coming here."

The Stags' boss hopes to have defender Hayden White available for selection after he took part in training on Tuesday, but defender Zander Diamond, midfielder Joel Byrom and winger Alfie Potter will all miss out.

"[Hayden White's] ready, providing the next two days' training goes to plan. Hayden took part with the boys on Tuesday and came through fine. He enjoyed his day off yesterday and he's back in today.

"I see managers saying 'we've got four out'. Well it's irrelevant because three of them never play anyway. Our four players are all players that would play. We'll keep the focus on the lads we have available.

"We won't have Joel [Byrom], obviously. Alfie [Potter] may train tomorrow but it may come a little bit early, but he'll be fit for Tuesday. Hayden is ready. Zander [Diamond] is a week or two away."

The Stags' chief also told the local media that he was found not guilty at a disciplinary hearing at Wembley Stadium yesterday after he was sent to the stands at Cheltenham Town a fortnight ago.

He said: "I went to Wembley yesterday with one or two people who were in the vicinity and I got a full and fair hearing. It wasn't a long hearing and I'm thankful to that commission that they saw why I was put to the stands was totally wrong.

"My decision to go and contest that was upheld and I got some heartfelt words from the Football Association yesterday, so I've been to Wembley again and won," he remarked.

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


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