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Can Stags equal winning record before March arrives?

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Skybet League Two match Morecambe -V- Mansfield Town at Globe Arena, Morecambe, Lancashire, England on copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229
Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Skybet League Two match Morecambe -V- Mansfield Town at Globe Arena, Morecambe, Lancashire, England on copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229

Victory for Mansfield Town against visiting Coventry City on Saturday will equal the 17 wins they achieved all last season – and we are only still in February.

It is a poignant marker of the improvement at the One Call Stadium and how serious their promotion challenge is this time around.

However, they will only equal that figure on Saturday if they can see off their promotion rivals and boss Steve Evans said: “The big word is ‘if’. It’s two letters and one of the smallest words on the planet.

“But it means so much – if this and if that. We don’t deal in ifs, whats, buts and maybes.

“But the reality if we do win is it would be a nice achievement with so many matches left. But have a lot of work to do in the remaining fixtures, whether we get zero, one or three points against Coventry.

“Any one in isolation could be massively important.”

Stags were pre-season title favourites and he smiled: “Some thought that we’d win it in September and October.

“But the form of the team is good. The boys are working so hard. The performances for large periods now are starting to be very emphatic and good.

“But we are going to get tested now in the remaining fixtures like every other team is.

“They are a huge test of your character, your substance, and your abilities – mentally and physically.

“The passion should be there on the pitch and sidelines, but away from all that you have to remain calm and focused.”

He added: “You only have to walk around the club now. It’s a different club from when I walked in here. And the people who deserve enormous credit are the Radford family.

“Where would the club be without their support? Probably, like others, struggling perilously.

“It’s a very positive place to come to work.

“We are very fortunate we’ve got a fantastic dressing room. Sir Alex Ferguson once said to me if there is a bad apple in there then grab it and throw it as far away as you can as there’ll be two the next day.

“Everyone here is pulling in the same direction and everyone is fighting for a starting shirt.

“The boys look in fantastic shape and everyone is incredibly fresh.”

Evans believes opponents Coventry are the biggest club in the division.

“This game will provide a challenge as tough as any in the league,” he said.

“I don’t think there is anyone who disputes that there is probably the breadth of a hair on your head is the difference between a lot of the teams.

“Coventry are in that bracket principally because of their players. They have a fantastic array of talent.

“Some of the players we’d have liked to have brought there went there.

“They are the biggest club in League Two we play on Saturday. There are a lot of good clubs in the division, but by far the biggest club is our league is Coventry City.”