Stags start week of clashes against trio of ‘promotion rivals’

Carlisle United v Mansfield Town - Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans - Pic By James Williamson
Carlisle United v Mansfield Town - Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans - Pic By James Williamson

Mansfield Town continue a tough seven-game September with three games in eight days against sides boss Steve Evans expects to be among Stags’ promotion rivals.

Grimsby Town visit on Saturday (1pm) before Wycombe are at the One Call Stadium on Tuesday night ahead of a trip to Lincoln City the following Saturday.

“Our next seven days is against three teams that, in my opinion, will be in the top eight,” said Evans.

“These months come and you have to take a large percentage of points.

“When we come out of September the league table will then have taken on a little bit of shape and have a little bit of credibility. It has absolutely zilch credibility at the moment.

“The team that are in the bottom three won’t be in the bottom three, they may be in perhaps the top 10 or 12 when it comes to the end of the season. And there will be teams in the top six or seven at the moment that won’t finish in the top half of the table.

“I have said if we are in that top six or seven after 12-14 games I will be absolutely delighted as I know from January to the end of the season this group will have properly settled and be ready for the challenges in the most important part of the season.”

Grimsby will bring over 1,400 fans to the game on Saturday and Evans smiled: “I will get my normal banter from the Grimsby fans.

“I have always said supporters up and down the country sing your name because they know you.

“But the people I want in full voice are the Stags fans. I want to reward them on Saturday with a really good performance.

“It won’t be about what Grimsby do that decides where this game goes. It will be about what we do.

“We expect a typical Russell Slade team. They will be very well-organised, they’ll be disciplined, they’ll be strong.

“They come on the back end of a good result last week.

“They’re one of the teams I’d expect to be in the top eight. I thought that the day they appointed Russell – no disrespect to anyone else.

“I saw he’d got the job and thought ‘here we go, Grimsby are suddenly going to be in the mix’.”