Evans on Flitcroft, Radfords, fans’ frustration and Stags’ promotion hopes

Steve Evans
Steve Evans

Steve Evans has backed his Mansfield Town successor David Flitcroft to seal promotion from League Two this season with the Stags.

Evans left Mansfield last week with the team sitting fifth in the table and just two points behind Wycombe Wanderers in the third automatic spot, with a game in hand.

Evans’ shock exit brought an end to his 15-month reign at the One Call Stadium which saw him take the Stags from flirting with relegation to one challenging for promotion.

The former Crawley, Rotherham and Leeds boss believes Flitcroft is the man to steer Mansfield, who have lost just once in their last 13 outings, to League One.

“When I left Crawley, I said to them ‘You’ll get promoted because the squad is easily good enough’,” Evans told The Football League Paper.

“John Radford called me on Friday and I said the same thing. There’s a bit more work to be done than at Crawley, but David Flitcroft is a great choice.

“He actually rang this week and spoke in glowing terms about how great the squad is. He’s an experienced manager who’s been great at the level before and he himself has left a great squad behind at Swindon.

“Flicker will get them promoted, for sure.

“And when he does, the plan is for me and John to sit down and share a nice bottle of red wine. Whatever happens, we’ll always be personal friends.”

Evans and assistant Paul Raynor have since taken up jobs with League One outfit Peterborough United - in what the manager has described as his ‘dream job’.

His decision to quit Mansfield Town, though, was met with shock and disappointment from much of the Stags fanbase, something Evans says is understandable.

“Anyone who loses a girlfriend that they deeply love will be upset,” he said.

“I understand that. But when you look at the situation objectively, I took over a team that was goal difference away from being in the League Two relegation zone.

“The chairman’s remit was to build a squad good enough for promotion, with the first season if possible. That’s exactly what we’ve done.

And added: “I understand the anger and disappointment, but they also gave to understand what goes on in my life and what I need to do for my family.

“At Mansfield, I’d be away for 7.45am, back at 8pm and that’s not including watching games. At Leeds, I lived away and was only back one day a fortnight. Rotherham the same, Crawley the same.

“My wife and family have been fantastically supportive, but I did want to finally come home every night.”