Another away grueller for Stags at Exeter

Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans - Pic Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans - Pic Chris Holloway

After two successive hauls up to Carlisle United, Mansfield Town face another gruelling away trip this weekend to the other end of the country to face a resurgent Exeter City on Saturday.

The length of his first three away trips have been a baptism of fire for new boss Steve Evans, who smiled: “Someone said to me was there any down side to taking the Mansfield Town job – and I think the chairman and chief executive hid the fixtures.

“I don’t think they were telling me I was going to Carlisle twice and then Exeter in the space of three weeks. I’ve got bags under my eyes!

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“There is a lot of travelling in this division and you have to do it. But who do I feel most for? I think supporters as they have to make those long journeys and we get paid for it, it’s our job.”

Stags won their last away game at Carlisle in the Checkatrade Trophy and Evans said: “It’s the week before Christmas and we want to make it a ‘Christmassy’ journey on the way home by getting the points.

“We knew before we turned the year we had another long trip after Carlisle and we’ll take the same result coming home, then we have two home games over the festive period. If we can deal with them we’ll be right in the mix.”

Exeter have just won two and drawn one of their last three and Evans said: “I have a lot of respect for the manager down there, Paul Tisdale is someone I know really well.

“I think he the longest serving manager aside of probably Arsene Wenger. He has done an incredible job and they are a good side.

“I have the highest respect and highest regard for him. It will nice to see Paul, but it will be even nicer to come away with the points.

“I think he’s got a lot about him. I think he is a successful guy. He directly deals with a lot of the business side of the football club as well, so he probably deserves a knighthood from the people down at Exeter City.”

He added: “They play with a real flair and a real openness.

“It will be extremely tough. They had a difficult start to the campaign, and it took Paul quite a while to get it right.

“But he has found a formula, he’s found a system as he always does – he is a top guy, never mind a top class coach.

“He has stayed very loyal to that football club and in many ways they reward him with signing the likes of Reuben Reid, who is a top player. A lot will go through him.

“It’s going to be a difficult day for us down there. But we’ll go down there in good form. All bar a 30-minute period at Carlisle, we have dominated most of what we have been involved in.”

The Stags will be hoping to trouble Exeter’s new scoreboard after drawing a blank in last weekend’s 0-0 home draw with Chesterfield when the new scoreboard at One Call Stadium was used for the first time.

“We simply didn’t do enough to win the game,” said Evans.

“We’d all expect Matt Green to stick the ball in the net after 12 minutes and from then we’d probably have gone on to win it quite comfortably given our domination of the play.

“Our creativity was lacking a little but, but certainly not our industry. I felt for the players afterwards after how hard individuals and the team had worked.”

Stags will travel down tomorrow and stay over to help ease the strain of over four hours on the coach to Devon.

“The boys will be in tomorrow morning and this time we will train before we go,” said Evans.

“We will be nice and relaxed on the journey on the way down and we’ll make sure we’re ready for a difficult game.

“Exeter have found a bit of form. But we have had a look at them and we feel we can exploit one or two things, though we know it’s going to be tough.

“When I’ve been there I’ve had mixed results over the years.

“The supporters get behind the team they love and it makes it a difficult fixture for us at an important time leading up to the Christmas period.

“But If I get the same levels of effort and commitment that we’ve had - all bar that 30 minutes in the second half of the League fixture at Carlisle – and the same effort and determination we had against Colchester here on Saturday, plus a little bit of quality on top of that, we’ll have a good afternoon.”