Stags skipper Collins thanks ‘phenomenal’ army of fans

Lee Collins

Lee Collins

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Stags skipper Lee Collins thanked Mansfield Town’s army of almost 3,500 fans for their ‘phenomenal’ backing in today’s 0-0 derby draw at Notts County.

The Stags chalked up a fourth successive clean sheet, but failed to take one of two or three good chances at the other end to reward the huge away support.

“They were brilliant,” said Collins.

“To get that at League Two is phenomenal and all we can do is thank them and apologise for not winning the game and getting a goal for them to get them excited.

“All credit to them. They have spent their hard-earned money to come and watch us and we really appreciate it.”

It was a typically tight derby with few chances and Collins said: “It was a bit scrappy – plenty of enthusiasm from both teams but a lack of end quality from both of us really.”

Click HERE to read the match report

Click HERE to read boss Steve Evans’ views

“It shows the expectations we put on ourselves and what everyone else is starting to put on us. We are starting to get a bit of a name for ourselves.

“We are on a good run with four clean sheets on the bounce and we were just unfortunate today.

“They’ve had a bit of a new manager syndrome today and all upped their game a bit after their poor run. But that was expected and we should have probably got a bit further.”

Striker Yoann Arquin missed the best chance of the game when he put the ball wide at the far post in the second half.

“I will have to see it again but I think he will be a bit disappointed with it,” said Collins.

“But he was a handful in the box again today and he has made a good start really.”

Stags have now gone 373 minutes without conceding and Collins said: “We looked solid. I don’t think they really threatened us. I don’t think they had any clear shots on target.”

Collins has found himself pushed out of defence into midfield in recent games under new boss Steve Evans and said: “I am enjoying it in there.

“There is no rocket science, I’ve just got to do my job.

“I have played in there before under the old management and it’s pretty similar.

“I just need to keep it simple and don’t get carried away thinking I am Maradona all of a sudden just because I am higher up the pitch. I just keep it basic.”

On new boss Evans, he added: “He really gets us up for games.

“You know if you go out there and you’re shoddy for 45 minutes you’ve got a good chance of coming off.

“Everyone is fighting for their shirts, especially with the competition that has come in and is possibly coming in.”

Being club captain, Collins has had to try harder than most to impress the new manager.

“I just had to try to do what I always do and put in 100 per cent every week and if I’m not to the new management’s liking, that’s football for you,” he said.

“You just have to put what you’ve got available on show and hope he likes it.”

Peterborough loanee Hayden White made an excellent debut at right back today and Collins said: He was really good.

“It is always difficult to come in. He only had the one training session with us yesterday and I thought he was brilliant.

“We are a big family and he is going to come in and settle really quickly. We will get to work on the tactical side on the training pitch.”

White is the fifth new face this January and Collins said: “It’s been brilliant. I’ve never known so many come in and settle so quickly.

“To be fair that’s credit to the lads who’ve come in and the other players for making them welcome.”