Stags have enough big characters to cope as ‘squeaky bum time’ approaches, says boss Evans

Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans - Photo by Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans - Photo by Chris Holloway

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans believes he has enough big characters in his dressing room to handle the pressure as Stags go into the final 17 games of the season still in with a huge chance of the play-offs.

Just two points adrift of the top seven, Stags face two home games in four days this week and Evans admitted: “Probably two or three weeks down the line it will be squeaky bum time.

“I know first hand that some of the people in the shake-up at the minute don’t handle squeaky bum time very well. They go to pieces and do different things.

“So my job is to make sure we can handle it as a group, not as individuals. It’s always about the group.

“Fortunately we’ve got some big characters in that dressing room, probably seven or eight big characters that will ensure that.”

Mansfield’s fate is in their own hands with games still to come against all seven teams above them.

“You have to earn the right in those games to compete for the level above,” he said.

“Because we are playing catch-up, it’s good for us to be playing the teams in that top group. If we can deal with those games, the prize – our destiny – is in our hands.”

Evans said the side’s fitness and will to win would play a huge part.

“We play with an intensity in our play and we always try to win a game,” he said.

“The amount of games at Rotherham that we won from the 85th minute to the end of the game was probably the difference of 30 points in the season.

“It was incredible and that was because we had a dressing room that didn’t know how to accept defeat or draws. Can you turn a defeat into a draw? Can you turn a draw into a win?”

He also felt the competition for places he has created would play a significant part too.

Evans continued: “Can you play with the fear. The fear is looking at the bench, not the manager and assistant manager – though someone would try to paint that picture.

“It’s looking at the bench at the substitutes and looking in the stand.

“The boys who took the field on Saturday would have looked over and you just see an array of talent, the like of Matt Green, Yoann Arquin, Baxendale, Potter, MacDonald, Shearer all sitting there.

“It really is a fight for your shirt and if you can get that in your dressing room, an intensity in your play and a focus then, at the levels we’re at, it normally produces a winning team.”