Injury worries, but Stags boss keeps cards close to his chest ahead of derby

Mansfield vs Lincoln - Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans - Pic By James Williamson
Mansfield vs Lincoln - Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans - Pic By James Williamson

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans said he has one or two injury worries ahead of Saturday’s big local derby at Lincoln City (1pm).

Evans kept an unchanged side in midweek but saw them produce an under-par performance in awful conditions for a 0-0 draw with Wycombe.

Today he was playing his cards close to his chest on his side.

“Maybe I will make changes on Saturday, maybe not,” he said.

“We have one or two knocks from Tuesday, but we are going to keep them in-house.

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“There is no reason for me to help the people at Lincoln and say who may be under pressure to start the game.

“The players know the rules here. If they don’t train for a couple of games they don’t get included.

“Whatever team we pick, we want a committed performance. We know how Lincoln will play.

“The ball will go early and long into the strikers as quickly as they can do it and they will feed off that. And they find a way to win matches which is admirable. You can only applaud it.”

Stags were beaten 3-1 by Lincoln at home in the Checkatrade Trophy less than three weeks ago when both sides rested big guns.

“We wanted to win the Checkatrade game and we put out a team that on paper we thought was capable of winning, said Evans.

“The quality of some of our football was fantastic but the game turned when the big money signing Michael Bostwick came onto the pitch, he is a good player.”

Evans is a big fan of Lincoln City and their boss Danny Cowley.

“I think they are a wonderful football club,” he said.

“I was a rival manager to them for a few years. I went there on a couple of occasions and they are fantastic supporters.

“My daughter is at University in Lincoln and loves every minute of it. She is endeared to the city and may settle there in the future.

“So I have nothing other than good words about the club and a management team that have got them out the Conference with 95 points – still a long way short of the record we set.

“But they have done a wonderful job and their FA Cup run was special to every manager who has ever been in non-League. I messaged Danny after every round and they deserve enormous credit.”

Evans added: “I’ve talked about what they’ve spent this summer, but they’ve spent no more than the top clubs in this league and they have invested their money very wisely.

“It will be a full house, there will be a fervent home support and we have a passionate away support, it has all the hallmarks of a fantastic local derby.”

Lincoln have five ex-Stags in their squad for the game and Evans smiled: “There could have been two or three more if I’d let it happen in the summer – I don’t know if it was an infatuation!

“I respect going there. We know it’s going to be tough.

“Is it going to be the difference if we get promoted? Maybe. We don’t know until the end of the season.

“We’ll go there and work hard and if we win there will be no shouting and singing like we saw here in the Checkatrade.

“We will do what did when we have beaten sides like Grimsby and come in quietly and go back to the training ground on the Sunday or Monday and get ready for the next one.”