Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans’ first job of the day this morning was to lift his players’ spirits after a second heartbreaking defeat in the space of four days.
Evans missed his usual press conference to hold a meeting with his squad, who have seen some outstanding football and a wealth of chances created go nowhere as they lost 2-0 at home to Plymouth and 2-0 away at Colchester on Tuesday.
The players had yesterday off and assistant manager Paul Raynor said this morning: “The gaffer is in there now having a little chat with them and a little meeting and geeing a few of them up.
“Their heads were down a little bit on Tuesday night – understandably. It’s hard to take with that level of performance and once again coming away with nothing.
“He is in there cajoling a few and putting a few more smiles on faces as they really care.
“They’re a good bunch. They are working incredibly hard and we’re not really getting the benefits of that.”
Mansfield’s task of making the play-offs has been made tougher by four games without a win or a goal.
Stags have played superbly for much of that time, but still the goals have eluded them and, on the 375-minute goal drought, Raynor said: “If we could put our finger on it we’d have addressed it three or four weeks ago.
“It is unprecedented really. They’re not half chances either, they are full chances. They are good chances and they are at crucial times in the game.
“We’ve tried different things, worked on different things in training as you can imagine. We’ve done shooting drills, we’ve done finishing drills. You name it we’ve done it.
“It’s just a period we’re going through at the moment.
“It may just be we need one to fly in off somebody’s backside or an own goal or something silly and it turns.
“We went through a period when everything we hit went in. “Ben Whiteman had a period when he couldn’t stop scoring. Unfortunately the chances are still coming for Ben but he’s not tucking them away at the moment.
“Our strikers were chipping in as well. At the moment it’s not quite dropping or falling for us. But we will keep working hard and hopefully it will turn.”
Raynor was a striker himself back in his own playing days, but smiled: “I think my goal drought continued throughout my career to be fair.
“That was something I struggled with, that’s why I ended up getting deeper and deeper. I was never a prolific striker.”
He has no doubt the tide will turn.
“It will come. We have got players and strikers that can score goals. That’s not in doubt whatsover. It’s about shuffling the pack and finding the right options in attacking areas.
“We’ve played with the one up in the last couple of games, we’ve played with two up and won games as well. So we’ll have a good look at it, shuffle the pack and see where we are at.
“We will look at different systems and see which is best suited to get three points against Carlisle on Saturday.”