Mansfield Town look to end miserable home run against Cambridge United

Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans.
Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans.

Mansfield Town will be hoping to end a miserable run of 379 minutes without a home goal against Cambridge United on Saturday in a fixture that has only seen one goal in four clashes at the One Call Stadium.

Both sides go into the game with excellent defensive records this season and Stags boss Steve Evans said of the lack of goals in the fixture: “I think it’s probably because both camps in recent times have been very well disciplined and very well organised.

“Also both teams have good players and that sometimes cancels you out.

“But we are at home. We’re in good form, though we want to do more with the ball than we have been doing in recent times.

“The boys are working hard and, whether we win or lose, we will keep it on a level keel and let’s get to the 15-game stage and see where we are.

“I want us to start properly and start on the front foot, though that’s always difficult as there are two teams trying to do the same thing.”

Evans said first and foremost his players had to match Cambridge’s hard work.

“I watched the second half of their game with Coventry on Saturday,” he said.

“Coventry had a lot of the ball, but what really shone out like a beacon light in a dark ocean for me was how hard Cambridge worked and how organised they were.

“As a team they were superb and that comes from the training ground and the manager.”

Stags are now five League games unbeaten, but Evans said: “I don’t care about unbeaten runs. I just want to get a bag of coal or three bags of coal every time we turn up. If we can do that it helps.

“But I keep saying this is a marathon and we will be significantly better in the second half of the season.

“Anything we can attain between now and the January period is a blessing.”

As a Peterborough resident Evans is a big admirer of local rivals Cambridge and admits some of his family will be there rooting for United on Saturday.

“They are a good side with good players all over the pitch – a good squad and good people behind the scenes,” he said.

“I’ve know Jez George for a lot of years and he doesn’t get enough credit for saving that football club.

“Although I’m from their local rivals – I live in the city of Peterborough – I have a lot of family related on the wife’s side who will be travelling here as Cambridge United supporters on Saturday. They watch them home and away.

“Shaun Derry is the man in charge now. He went in there when they were struggling and they had a great run at one point last season before it slipped away a little bit.

“But it’s no surprise to me they’re on a solid run as we speak.”

Evans is hoping he will only be without midfielder Joel Byrom (foot injury) on Saturday.

“Joel is out and we’ll miss him, but hopefully everybody else is in contention and fighting for a place,” he said.

“There are always one or two knocks. We have one or two again this week, but like before Lincoln we will keep these within the camp.”