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Stags to play behind-closed-doors game as youngsters head to Vale

5 February 2018

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans has revealed that his side will play a behind-closed-doors game against an un-named League One club tomorrow, meaning a young Stags' squad will compete in the Central League clash away to Port Vale.

In general, Stags have used the reserves' fixtures to increase the competitive minutes of first team players who haven't been playing in Sky Bet League Two.

However, they have often faced sides made up of youth team players, hence why the boss was keen to organise the behind-closed-doors game against what he expects to be competitive opposition.

"People know our views that we play the experienced players, but it will be a very young side, it'll be like an under 18s that goes across to Port Vale," the Stags' chief said.

"The boys that need minutes in the first team group will be in a behind-closed-doors match against a League One club. It's just about the quality of opponent. We don't know what we'll get when we go to Port Vale.

"If the gaffer there decided to play all his squaddies and different likes, then we'd be sending the boys over there.

"We turn up sometimes and it's kids and it doesn't give the boys the same fearsome opposition that what the League One club will bring tomorrow. That's going to be everyone that's not been used in their first team at the weekend and others, very much like us."

"We turn up sometimes and it's kids and it doesn't give the boys the same fearsome opposition that what the League One club will bring tomorrow."

Steve Evans, manager

Despite the January transfer window closing last Wednesday, clubs in the National League and below are still able to make loan signings and the boss admits that some of his players could depart on loan in the coming days, but insists he is happy for everyone to stay and play a part in Stags' promotion push.

"There will be some movement in the next week or so. Let me be clear: if no-one goes out, great, it doesn't matter to me.

"It's lads that come to your door and seek to play football more than anything else. If they're not getting games here and they want to go and play, like George Taft did, we applaud it.

"I don't see one player in our group that won't possibly play a part. If they play a five-minute meaningful part between now and the end of the season, that's enough for me. By the same token, they need to go and play football to be ready to play."

Skipper Zander Diamond was omitted from the matchday squad for Saturday's 3-1 home win over Barnet as his wife was in labour with their first child and the gaffer, speaking to the local media at One Call Stadium this morning, was please to report that Mrs Diamond has given birth to a baby girl.

"As I did then and as I have done for the last few days, on behalf of all of us I've sent Zander our congratulations to him and Nadine.

"Another little Diamond is born, another little Stags' supporter. Mother and baby are doing great. I did tell my wife this morning that all three are doing great and she said: 'well, Zander's work was done a while ago!'

"Congratulations to Zander and his family; him and his wife are real nice people and there couldn't have been a baby more welcomed into the world than when those two got their hands on it.

"From all of us, and I know the lads have been in touch: well done, skip. We'll see you tomorrow."

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


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