Stags in a terrific place says boss Evans

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Swindon Town v Mansfield Town; 10/2/18 KO 15.00; The Energy Check County Ground; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield boss Steve Evans has strong words with his side

After the disappointment of dropping two home points to rivals Coventry City, Mansfield Town face up to a crucial eight days for their promotion hopes.

Stags, two points off the top three, have just 12 games left with a quarter of those in the coming eight day period that sees a trip to Stevenage on Saturday followed by an all-ticket Tuesday home derby with Lincoln City and a home clash with Colchester four days later.

Stags boss Steve Evans was left furious over costly penalty decisions by referee Michael Salisbury as Coventry left with a 1-1 draw from a game Mansfield should have won.

But Evans said: “We are still in a terrific place.

“Every week will be big for us now. You come through next week towards Easter and you have four games in two weeks when you play Saturday, Friday, Monday, Saturday.

“I said to the players a number of weeks ago these game quickly get chalked off and disappear.

“Every week now it’s just about our result. We are the only ones that can influence the table. Others can help influence it but we need to influence it for ourselves.”

He added: “I said to the players if we’d got our just rewards on Saturday we’d have won the game.

“We should have won it comfortably. We didn’t – it was a slap in the face. But we’ve had a few slaps in the face over the season. We go again.”

Coventry took a point from a penalty while Stags had two big appeals turned down, so Evans went back over the decisions with referees’ chief David Allison and found some sympathy.

“I had a good chat with the head of the Football League’s referees and the one thing I get from David Allison is integrity. I get true opinions and I respect it,” he said.

“I’ve had more time to study it. I still don’t think Coventry’s is a penalty. He’s slipped and already on the floor. Jonno (Clarke-Harris) is a great lad, but he goes over, plays for it and gets it.

“If you give that one you have to give the one on Ricky Miller.

“The only one me and the head of referees have a difference of opinion on is I think the handball was in the box and he thinks from his angle maybe just out.”

Evans said his players were in positive mood.

“I had a good chat with the players and told them about my chat with the head of referees. It was a very positive meeting and they trained well,” he said.

“When I debriefed them on my conversation I think it gave them a little bit of a lift to be honest as I think they’re all thinking if the Alex one was given why wasn’t the other one?

“I am not in any way questioning the integrity of the referee on Saturday.

“I just thought he had a really poor performance. Like we all have, he had a bad day.”

“We move on. Coventry are a great side with great players. We went for Doyle, we won’t hide it, and we went for McNulty, we won’t hide it, but we couldn’t afford them.

“Good luck to them at Wycombe tonight, come on Coventry help us out.”

More from Sport