Steve Evans believes Mansfield Town fans are in for a real footballing treat with the visit of Middlesbrough tonight (Wednesday, 7.30).
Just relegated from the Premier League, Garry Monk’s side will include a host of household names and Evans can’t wait to see his own new-look squad up against them.
“We’ll see a team that has just come down from the Premier League and a coach who has gone in there who has my highest respect,” he said.
“I have a lot of time and respect for Garry as a fellow coach. I know what he stands for.
“He has been away overseas working and they will bring a full strength squad here.
“Their football quality will be fantastic. They have a coach who believes that the carpet is for football and they will have a fantastic surface to come and play on.
“It will be another good step for us. They are the favourites to be promoted to the Premier League. First and foremost the players always create that and secondly the coach. They have a great recipe to challenge.”
Stags fans may also get to see the first Boro appearance of new club record £15 million signing Britt Assombolonga from Championship rivals Nottingham Forest, a move completed yesterday.
“I don’t like Britt as every time he plays against my team the cheeky little bugger scores a goal,” smiled Evans. “He is a fantastic talent.
“If you’ve coached in League One or the Championship you’ll know that Britt is a goalscorer. I am surprised one or two in the Premier League haven’t had a bite.
“Joining up with Steve Gibson and the gang at Middlesbrough he is joining a club that will undoubtably challenge, not just with the signings Gary has made – which have been very impressive – but also the squad that Aitor Karanka put together to get them out the Championship.”