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Stags will continue to improve, says boss

21 September 2017

Despite Stags sitting just three points off the Sky Bet League Two automatic promotion spots, manager Steve Evans believes his side will be 'significantly better' in the second half of the campaign.

Stags have won 13 points from their first eight matches and currently occupy fifth spot in League Two following just one defeat – to a 93rd minute goal away to Accrington Stanley – since the opening day of the season.

But the gaffer, who has previously won nine promotions in his career, admits he is still frustrated with the Stags' start and believes his side will improve further after the turn of the year.

"Always remember, this is a marathon - I keep saying it," the Stags' chief said.

"I said it back in the summer; this is a marathon and we will be significantly better in the second half of the season for me. I found it at Crawley, I found it at Rotherham and I found it at Leeds in spells.

"We've got two benchmarks for me. The first is the 12-15 game mark, which we'll not be too far away from in a few weeks time, then we have the middle of January and that tells everyone what you have to do in the second half of the season."

"I said it back in the summer; this is a marathon and we will be significantly better in the second half of the season for me."

Steve Evans, manager

Stags welcome Cambridge United to One Call Stadium on Saturday (23 September, 3.00pm kick-off) and former Leeds United boss could make changes to the side which defeated Lincoln City last week after an impressive Stags' side ran out 4-0 winners over Burton Albion in the Central League Cup match on Tuesday.

"Danny's (Rose) always knocking on the door. He's been knocking on the door and he's started some games as well. I must admit, I thought Jacob Mellis was the best player on the park by some distance.

"From our point of view, it's not just about those two. Rhys Bennett was back getting minutes, Jimmy Spencer was back getting minutes and you only had to look at the quality of that team on show to demonstrate we've got a decent squad of players here.

"We might change it. We like to get Jacob Mellis in if we think we're going to try and command more of the ball and Jacob Mellis immediately comes to our thoughts.

"By the same token, you just check yourself a little bit and say well, it wasn't just about the goal we scored at Lincoln, it was about how hard the team worked."

Stags will still be without midfielder Joel Byrom for Saturday's match as he continues his rehabilitation from the foot injury picked up against Wycombe Wanderers, whilst the gaffer revealed that there are a further 'one or two' knocks within his squad.

"Joel Byrom's out and we'll miss Joel, but hopefully everyone else is in contention and fighting for a place. There's always one or two knocks – we've got one or two again this week but like we did before Lincoln, we'll keep these within the camp."

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


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