Stags look to the skies as rain threatens Blackpool clash

editorial image
4
Have your say

Mansfield Town will be hoping the wet weather does not put pay to their hopes of building on Saturday’s sparkling victory when Blackpool are due in town tomorrow night (Tuesday, 7.45pm).

Blackpool are due in town tomorrow night (Tuesday, 7.45pm).

New boss Steve Evans made the perfect start to his tenure on Saturday with a 3-1 home win over Crawley Town on Saturday with Blackpool, in the final play-off place in seventh, expected to provide a much tougher test tomorrow.

However, with rain already falling as the covers went on and more expected overnight, the Stags already have a pitch inspection planned for 9.15am.

The grey scene outside the window in the Quarry Lane Stand this morning was very familiar to a man born in Glasgow who has spent many seasons working in Yorkshire and Evans smiled: “It’s very Glasgow/Yorkshire weather and now now it’s Nottinghamshire weather. I think we are on the wrong end of it today, but we won’t be alone.

“There will be a lot of football clubs and managers and coaches looking across the pitches now and towards the ground staff.

“I’ve already had my meeting with Mike (groundsman Merriman) this morning who said, listen gaffer, there’s X-amount of rain and he was depressing me with the amount of rain that was going to fall.

“But if this game has a chance then that young man and his team will get it on.”

With Stags a tantalising two points off the play-offs, Stags know a win could see them leapfrog the Seasiders into that seventh and final play-off spot.

But, despite the stand-off between chairman and supporters at crisis-torn Blackpool, who since 2011 have tumbled from the Premier League into League Two, results have been good under Lee Bowyer, the club’s eighth manager in three-and-a-half years.

They have lost only one of their last six League games, winning the last two and Evans admitted: “They have done a good job up there.

“It was another football club that had a lot of issues with supporters and different things over the summer and I really feel for them.

“But my focus is not them, my focus is what we do. It won’t be about what Blackpool do tomorrow night that determines whether they win the game or not. It’s about what Mansfield Town do.

“Do we get our game plan right? Do we get the tactics right on the training ground?

“I heard a wonderful interview with Jurgen Klopp and I just wonder whether he stole it from me when I said last year that 95 per cent on a Saturday at 3pm is the players.

“The head coach or the manager can affect very little then, other than at half-time.

“But when it comes to being on the training ground, the coaching, the strategy and the tactics, then the manager, led by his lieutenants if you like, who are coaching the players, are 95 per cent important.

“What we put across to the players, they have to take on board. “The players who went out there on Saturday produced more than the 95 per cent to get us the win.”

Evans continued: “They have to be really assured against Blackpool.

“This is a good side. When you look back to the summer to look who they assembled everyone knew why as Gary Bowyer, an experienced Championship boss, went in there and used his contacts to put that squad in place.”

After last weekend’s defensive crisis, when Evans had only one centre half available to him, he does have Kyle Howins available again after suspension with Lee Collins still not 100 per cent fit.

“We may change one or two little things but nothing major of course,” he said. “We don’t have the time to do that.”