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Stags ready for Derby Day battle

28 September 2017

Mansfield Town will be looking to extend their unbeaten home run to six games by overcoming league leaders Notts County in Saturday's hotly-anticipated local derby at One Call Stadium.

We welcome the Magpies to One Call Stadium on Derby Day (Saturday 30 September, 1.00pm kick-off) with Stags aiming to re-claim a place in the Sky Bet League Two top seven. 

And with a prospective victory over Notts County on Saturday, Stags would move onto 19 points from their opening 11 games, the same tally as Rotherham United acquired when Stags' boss Steve Evans won promotion from League Two with the Millers in 2012/13.

The manager said: "If we can bounce back into that play-off group by a good performance on Saturday, which we'll need to give for three points, but if we can do that, we'll be well ahead of schedule.

"It's a long season but it will be good for us if we can get three points on Saturday. It absolutely mirrors to the point for the same number of games that I had for Rotherham, which would be 19 points returned in the same number of games.

"They're top of the league. They're doing fantastically well and this becomes almost like people looking at it as a promotion game. So early in the season, it's ridiculous, but isn't it fantastic for Mansfield Town that we're talking about promotion?

"This is the league leaders who have gone around the country turning win, after win, after win in the opening weeks, so it’s a big test for us."

Steve Evans, manager

"I remember when I came in here 10 or 11 months ago and we were talking about survival with the chairman. We've made a lot of progress and there'll be a lot more progress to come. I'm looking for my players to show their disappointment in their performance on Saturday."

Local rivals County have enjoyed an excellent start to the season, avoiding defeat since the 3-0 loss to Coventry City on the opening day, and currently lie three points clear at the top of Sky Bet League Two.

The gaffer believes the squad inherited by Magpies' boss Kevin Nolan was a group built for a promotion challenge and he sees Saturday's match as 'a real test' for his side.

"First and foremost, congratulations to Kevin Nolan; what a job he's done. He's added very selectively to the group and he inherited a good squad, it has to be said.

"People forget that the squad that was put together the season before last was to be a promotion squad.

"This is a real tough challenge for us. They're a squad that have been assembled for well over a season, we're a squad that are two or three months old.

"I know people want to dismiss it, but those that dismiss it really don't know what they're talking about when putting a squad together and how long it takes.

"This is the real test, this is the real benchmark. This is the league leaders who have gone around the country turning win, after win, after win in the opening weeks, so it's a big test for us."

Stags will be without defender Zander Diamond (groin injury) and midfielder Joel Byrom (foot injury) but the former Leeds United manager is hopeful of having defender Hayden White available for selection.

"[Hayden White's] got a chance to be fit. We're going to ask him to train at his maximum tomorrow. Zander Diamond will still miss, Joel Byrom will still miss and we've got one or two other knocks in the camp but again, we're not going to speak about them.

"We've still got a reasonable sized squad to deal with three or four injuries and that's always why your squad comes into effect. It has to be said, if we get one or two more, we will be down to kids on the bench."

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


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