Owls will give Stags a stiff test

Sheffield Wednesday in pre-saeson training at the Middlewood Road training ground
Sheffield Wednesday in pre-saeson training at the Middlewood Road training ground

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans expects a searching examination of his players when Championship neighbours Sheffield Wednesday come to town for Stags’ first home pre-season friendly this Saturday (3pm).

Evans said: “It will be tough for us on Saturday. This is a Sheffield Wednesday squad that only went out on penalties in the play-offs.

“My own personal view is that like Huddersfield, who went up, if Sheffield Wednesday had got to Wembley, then I think they’d have been in the Premier League.”

Evans turned down an approach from the Owls to be their new boss in 2013 and said: “They are a wonderful club – one of the top seven or eight in British football – and they will bring a healthy support who will want to see their team play some good football.

“It’s not so many years ago that I could have been the manager of Sheffield Wednesday and I know their backroom team particularly well. They are good people.

“Carlos (manager Carvalhal) will want his team to come here and put on a good performance before they go away. We will be tested.

“Then Middlesbrough will be here with 18 or 19 Premier League players, then Mark Warburton will be coming up the road from Nottingham. And I know the standards that man has.

“I want to see us comfortable in possession, organised, show plenty of effort out of possession and be competitive. If we can be competitive in the three games we’ve got against that type of opposition then we fear no one in the season ahead.”

For Stags’ opening friendly away to a Malta Select XI last week, Evans fielded two sides for 45 minutes each.

“We are undecided whether it’s two 45 minutes on Saturday or a 60 and a 30, but certainly all the players will be on the pitch at some stage,” he said.