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LOMAS ON STAGS: No trophy, but Evans has already ‘achieved’ at Mansfield

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; The Emirates FA Cup; Cardiff City v Mansfield Town; 6/1/18  KO 15.00; Cardif City Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Stags boss Steve Evans in jovial mood ahead of kick-off at Cardiff
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; The Emirates FA Cup; Cardiff City v Mansfield Town; 6/1/18 KO 15.00; Cardif City Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Stags boss Steve Evans in jovial mood ahead of kick-off at Cardiff

There is definitely something in the air at the One Call Stadium right now.

The optimism that was generated by John Radford appointing Steve Evans as manager last season and talk of promotions is suddenly starting to really feel like it could come to fruition.

Saturday’s late winner at Morecambe finally propelled the Stags into those top three automatic promotion places and, although the five sides below have games in hand, it really does feel now like Stags could yet avoid the play-offs – in a good way.

One defeat in 16 League Two games underlines the consistency Evans’ side are starting to show and their superb fitness and never-say-die attitude towards the end of games is crucial.

Only a rare error by Krystian Pearce gifted Morecambe the lead on Saturday.

Giving a Jim Bentley side any sort of advantage at home could have proved fatal.

Instead Stags hit back through yet another Danny Rose finish and you just knew Mansfield would go on and win it after that.

As a football fan that is a marvellous feeling.

So many seasons have passed in which Stags fans had the opposite feeling.

Their side would be ahead and there was always that gut feeling they would blow it at some stage – and they invariably did.

Now you really believe they won’t be beaten and you also know they will go to the very end of the game searching for a winner if the scores are still level.

It was a second game in a row in which Stags had snatched all three points and how crucial they could prove to be in the final reckoning.

No other side in League Two has won as many games after being behind this season.

Stags teams of past seasons going into added time all square would rarely snatch it and often lose it.

The pessimists and glass half-empty brigade will say Evans has achieved nothing yet, but they would be wrong.

He may not have any gleaming trophies or promotions in his Mansfield cabinet yet, but he has achieved the very difficult task of creating optimism at a club where that has been in very short supply down the years.

Genuine highs in the history of the club have been in very short supply for the Stags’ long suffering fans and it’s easy for cynicism to set in.

Some newer fans may not appreciate just how low things became at Field Mill in the past and how wonderful the current levels of optimism are to savour.

Back in the dark days of Keith Haslam’s reign as club owner, supporters thought the club may be lost forever and today’s healthy situation on and off the pitch would have been a mere pipe dream.

The addition of highly promising Swansea City youngster Adam King to the squad this week will doubtless prove another shrewd move by Evans, whose homework on players is generally meticulous.

He is also hoping on another couple of new faces before the Wednesday 11pm deadline, but said neither would be big names – just talented, young players who are hungry to help the club over the promotion line.

By Thursday morning we will all know what Stags have in their arsenal for the final push – and possible debuts should whet the appetite and help inflate a nosy home crowd when bottom club Barnet visit on Saturday.

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