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Gaffer aiming to progress in Trophy

30 October 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans has confirmed he will make 'wholesale changes' for tomorrow night's final Checkatrade Trophy group stage match against Everton U23s, but admits he still wants to progress in the competition.

We will book our place in the second round of the competition if our result against the Toffees at One Call Stadium tomorrow night (Tuesday 31 October, 7.45pm) betters rivals Notts County's scoreline against Lincoln City next week.

And although the competition ranks fourth in the gaffer's list of priorities this season, the former Leeds United manager wants his side to book their place in the next round regardless.

"We have a priority of League Two, followed by the FA Cup, followed by the Carabao Cup, followed by the Checkatrade. The Checkatrade is a good competition in its own right, but it doesn't sit in our list of priorities," the Stags' chief said.

"At 7.45pm tomorrow night it will [be a priority], because we want to progress in the tournament. If we can go out and get the win tomorrow night, I do believe with what will happen elsewhere, it will see us progress in the tournament. We would rather progress than not progress, but it's just not a priority.

"We've got an Everton team coming here tomorrow night who have got young men who will be determined to show whoever the new manager's going to be at Everton that they're worthy of a new contract, because most of them probably expire at the end of the season.

"We would rather progress than not progress, but it's just not a priority."

Steve Evans, manager

"I think they should have won the game at Lincoln, by all accounts, but they lose. They've got Premier League youngsters, Premier League players, Premier League quality and it'll be a good game for our guys."

After six of the side who started in the win against Notts County last week were named in the starting XI against Exeter City in Sky Bet League Two, the manager wants those who play tomorrow night to show why they deserve a starting berth in our Emirates FA Cup clash with Shaw Lane on Saturday.

"Will the team at Shaw Lane be the same as the team that played against Exeter? No, so that means the players playing here tomorrow night have a chance. I'm only being honest to our supporters, as I have been since the day I walked in; there will be changes, wholesale changes.

"The way to get back in the team is to produce a performance against Everton that says you should play at Shaw Lane.

"We have to get a good performance tomorrow night. I'm looking for three or four players to be saying: 'I should be in your first team when we go to Shaw Lane' and once again we'll pick the team for Shaw Lane with real integrity."

One man who will be involved against the Toffees is defender Zander Diamond, who has been sidelined with a groin injury since the defeat to Accrington Stanley in August.

The gaffer said: "There's going to be players tomorrow night who we do have an eye on to be involved on Saturday, none more so than our captain, Zander Diamond.

"He will play tomorrow night, all being well in training today and if he has no ill effects from a real strenuous work-out at the weekend – away from the Exeter game – then we're hopeful that him and others will stake a claim."

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

Tickets for the fixture can be bought online at www.stagstickets.co.uk


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