Stags will take the fight to rivals Wycombe in Good Friday showdown

Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor - Photo by Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Manager Steve Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor - Photo by Chris Holloway
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Mansfield Town will head to Wycombe Wanderers with all guns blazing on Good Friday as they begin a do-or-die Easter weekend against play-off rivals.

Stags probably need to win four of their last five games to make the play-offs, so boss Steve Evans said the onus was on his side to be on the front foot at Wycombe and again at home to Luton Town two days later.

“We want to go there and play our best on Friday,” he said.

“It should be a good game of football. We are going to go and entertain and have a go. There’s no point in us going there and trying deliberately to sit behind the ball.

“But, at times, Wycombe are going to have possession.

“I can tell our travelling fans, and there are going to be hundreds of them, that there will be times in the game when we’ll have to dig deep and get our defensive game right.

“But there is no point is us going there with a game plan that we sit 10 behind the ball and maybe hope to nick a goal, though there are times you’d think of doing that.”

He continued: “It’s a huge weekend and we have to come out with some points.

“If we don’t it will make the last two or three games of this season pretty much about next season really in respect of putting one or two people in that perhaps might not play if the squeeze is on to deal with getting points.

“They are two fantastic games. They are a good crowd down at Wycombe who always get behind their team and a passionate manager on the side next to me.

“They have a good set of players like big Ake (Ade Akifenwa) and (Garry) Thompson and people like that, who are wonderful players that have done Gareth (Ainsworth) a great service in the last year or two.”

On Chairboys boss Ainsworth, Evans said: “Gareth is a good manager who has done some good things at Wycombe.

“He took over when they were in real dire straits, probably around when I picked up here, 19th or 20th and not going anyway, and he’s given then a point of direction.

“But I think he’s in his third or fourth season at Wycombe, so every season that now goes by that they don’t make those play-offs or promotion, it becomes a little question mark. “But I think he is good enough to do that, though I hope it’s not this season as it means they have to beat us on Good Friday.”

Although he is a veteran of nine promotions, Evans said all he can do is organise players and advise them and then it’s up to them once they cross the white line.

“The first thing we should never forget is what gets you promoted is footballers,” he said.

“We have let ourselves down in recent weeks in both boxes just by missing a chance or not doing something properly defensively.

“Box to box we’ve been the best team in most of the games we’ve played – probably with the exception of Doncaster, who are the best team in the league. We are not at that level yet and for me they are on their own.

“We need to go to Wycombe and have a real resolution about our performance, take chances when they come and do a job all over the pitch. If we do that we’ll be in the game.

“It’s a great game to be involved in, followed of course by Luton Town coming here on Monday - it’s a fantastic Easter weekend of football.”