Competition for places will bring best out of Stags’ squad - Evans

Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans - Pic Chris Holloway

Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans - Pic Chris Holloway

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Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans desperately wants to bring three or four more new faces into the club before Tuesday’s transfer deadline to ensure the best possible competition for places.

Evans has already brought in six new faces in January, has made a club record £350,000 bid for another and has several other irons in the fire.

“There is nothing that should make you play at a better standard than competition, and we are starting to get that,” he said.

“We just need three or four more to get that competition at the top end.

“But we’ve come a long way from 19th in the league to where we are today. We can almost look up and see those play-offs. But every game is vital, and none more so than Saturday against Leyton Orient.”

Evans will tonight meet chairman John Radford and chief executive Carolyn Radford to discuss whether or not to up their record bid for a player, believed to be Exeter City’s Ollie Watkins.

Evans has another target almost secured as well, saying: “It would either be a loan or a permanent, depending on where the lad see his career and where he wants to go. We are flexible on either.”

Evans also has two or three possible loans and hopes he can can one of his targets on board to face Orient at the weekend.

“We would love to make it happen before Saturday, and we’d love to get three or four in before the window slams shut,” he said.

“There is no opportunity to do so after it now with the emergency loan market no more part of our thought process.

“We’d like to think there’s a chance, we’re working so hard, the chairman’s working so hard.

“He has bent over backwards to make some things happen for us, but unfortunately at this stage of the season we are in little chains waiting on other people strengthening.

“They are working hard and want to do it like I do yesterday. But we have to make sure we don’t just add any player. We have to add good players to add to a good group.”

With four players cup-tied, the Stags lost their Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final at home to Wycombe on Tuesday, but will be back to full strength now this weekend.

“I think people can see from the Checkatrade to the League, it’s two groups,” he said.

“We didn’t want to go out the Checkatrade. It was a poor result on the night and a poor performance.

“But the nice thing now is there’s one focus now, one group, one determination, whether you can get in the group and play. From our point of view we are trying to help that group and strengthen it.

“The analyst probably didn’t sleep much as he was sending me footage at 1am after the Wycombe game – that’s how hard we’re all working to make sure we can get the right players here for the supporters. Our supporters deserve a successful team.”