Morecambe trip could be toughest game left for Stags

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley

Manager Steve Evans described this weekend’s potential banana skin match at Morecambe as potentially the toughest of the eight games left for his play-off chasing Mansfield Town side.

The Stags saw off Carlisle United 2-0 last weekend to stay in the hunt for a top seven place and now sit ninth, three points outside the play-offs.

They have some huge games looming against sides around and above them, but boss Evans is more worried by the prospect of Saturday’s tough trip to a mid-table side with no pressure on them and nothing but pride to play for.

“It will be the toughest on Saturday,” he said. “ I don’t fear the Lutons, Doncasters and Exeters, they will take care of themselves. They are full of quality.

“What Jim Bentley does at Morecambe is he works miracles. I think he went to Lourdes a couple of times.

“He is a man I have a great relationship with. I know a lot of his players personally, like Kevin Ellison. They are wonderful footballers.

“Morecambe are up for every game, especially at home, and the higher up the table they are the better they can be.

“So, for me, this is going to be one of our toughest of the season, if not certainly one of the toughest away games.”

Evans watched Morecambe’s 2-1 home defeat by Accrington Stanley last night, which dropped them to 16th, and said: “We know what they are about and Jim has mixed it up for different opposition and different types as well

“We will watch their Tuesday night game, but it won’t be a direct link to Saturday against us though it will be most of it.

“We have to prepare the group mentally and physically to be ready for a tough challenge.

“We have eight games left and after we come out of Morecambe, it’s seven and squeaky bum time.”

After four games without a goal or victory, Saturday’s win over Carlisle was crucial.

“The important thing was to score a goal. That’s what the team shape was put together for to ensure,” he said.

“We knew if we could remain strong at the back and defend properly, we needed as many players on the pitch with a shape that we could score as many goals as possible.

“That worked for us. We scored two but could have had three or four.

“But we’d have taken 1-0 off the backside, so to speak. It was just important we got back to winning and got the points and it was thoroughly deserved.”

He added: “They are a fantastic group. It takes a lot mentally to be having the run of luck we’ve had.

“But it’s not just about luck, it’s also about ability and we have to put the ball in the net and also keep it out and defend properly.

“We have given ourselves a platform to go to Morecambe to see if we can get a positive result.

“The next two or three games after that are fantastic. Exeter, Luton, Doncaster - they are great games to be involved in.”