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Interviews

Stags bolstered by 'two new signings'

26 October 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans believes the return to fitness of defender Zander Diamond and midfielder Joel Byrom is like having 'two new signings' ahead of Saturday's visit of Exeter City.

Midfielder Byrom made his return to action after six weeks out with a foot injury against Notts County on Tuesday night, whilst Scottish centre-half Diamond hasn't made a first team appearance since the defeat to Accrington Stanley in August after suffering a recurrence of a groin injury in the reserves' victory against Burton Albion last month.

And although the former Northampton Town duo may not be risked against Exeter City on Saturday, the manager has spoken of the positive impact which the pair's return brings to the squad.

"We've had two new signings come into the building this week in Joel Byrom and Zander Diamond. Let's be honest, if the emergency window was open now and we'd gone into the market and signed those two, people would be buzzing," the Stags' chief said.

"It showed by the quality in possession and out of possession how much we missed him (Byrom). You're always going to miss a player like Byrom.

"Let's be honest, if the emergency window was open now and we'd gone into the market and signed those two, people would be buzzing."

Steve Evans, manager

"It's still an easier game to come into for that 55 minutes against a Notts County second string, if you like, as opposed to the heat of the battle. Saturday might be a bit early for him.

"Zander will train today. He's a bit like Joel Byrom; he's had a week now, or eight or nine days, of intensive training with the medical team on the grass and you've seen how quickly we expedited Joel into the team.

"We're expecting Zander to come through today and tomorrow with no ill effects and [if he does] the big fella gives himself a chance of being involved at the weekend."

Stags welcome the Grecians to One Call Stadium in Sky Bet League Two this Saturday (3.00pm kick-off), a side who have started 'like a rocket' according to the manager.

"We welcome Exeter City; they've got an outstanding manager, for me. More importantly, he's a good person and we get on really, really well away from football.

"They've had two or three results that have gone against them in recent times, but I think it's all by the odd-goal in games that they've dominated for large spells in.

"I've got too much respect for Paul Tisdale and the players at Exeter City, and I know some of them personally, to think that this is not a big step-up come Saturday.

"It's going to be a tough afternoon for us and we like to think it'll be a tough afternoon for them, but that's the nature of the league we're in."

Our last outing at One Call Stadium ended in a first home defeat of the season against Swindon Town, but Stags are unbeaten in three since then and the gaffer is targeting a return to winning ways in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday.

"It's time to win some matches. We addressed that with the players. To draw at Newport and to draw at Barnet are two results which are excellent results. They're tough places to go and I think a lot of teams will lose at those two venues. The disappointment was the home one; let's get back to winning at home.

"We need to go back to working hard, closing people down, passing the ball in the right areas and playing how we can play.

"You hear a lot of people around football talk about confidence. How does a team get confident? By winning."

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

 


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