Manager Steve Evans hailed substitute Danny Rose’s latest goal from the bench that tonight won the Checkatrade Trophy tie at Carlisle, but said the young striker still needed to prove he was fit enough to start a game.
A late 25-yard piledriver saw Stags take tonight’s tie 3-2 after the home side had wiped out the visitors’ 2-0 interval lead, making it three goals for Rose from the bench since Evans took over.
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But, with suspension and injury hampering his season, Rose continues to struggle to gain a first team start.
“He is a fantastic talent Danny Rose, but we’ve played behind-closed-doors games and the tightness and the data shows these boys haven’t been given matches,” said Evans.
“We have some players that we are trying to get fitter, as they are not fit enough to start.
“It’s my job and Paul Raynor’s job, and all the staff’s jobs, to make sure if players are not in the team that they are ready to be in the team. You can’t be ready if you’re not playing any minutes in the week.
“He is a wonderful player – we never doubted that. He is a real natural talent.
“But you don’t get fit by playing football. You get fit to play football – and I mean match fit. When Danny takes his shirt off, he’s got the body of a competition. But that doesn’t make you match fit – the sharpness, the little one-twos, the touch and the strikes.
“He’s had his head down. We’ve not picked him for weeks when he’s come on and been effective and got a goal. Some people make a point and some people prove a point.
“We want players that will prove a point and Danny Rose is trying his best to be in the team.
“Whether he’s good enough to be in the team on Saturday, we’ll see how he trains in the next few days.”
Stags were beaten 5-2 at high-flying Carlisle in their last game just 10 days ago in League Two. So revenge tonight was sweet.
“We came to try to improve from the last time we were here and I don’t think there’s any doubts that we’ve done that. The journey home will be nicer,” said Evans.
“For the people that made the long trip up from Mansfield tonight, thank you for supporting, it never goes unnoticed whatever club I manage.
“It’s not just the Mansfield Town fans that should be applauded tonight but the Carlisle United fans as well on an atrocious night. I don’t think anyone will have left the stadium tonight thinking they’ve not had value for money.”
A see-saw match saw Stags throw away a two-goal lead before the late winner and Evans smiled: “There’s two men with two white coats and a little white van out there waiting to take me away as that would drive you to that place.
“First 10 minutes we didn’t start the game particularly well. To be fair to Carlisle, they started on the front foot.
“But we got the opening goal of the game and from thereon in for 25 minutes we were outstanding. It should have been 5-0, but we missed chances.
“We know 2-0 is always a dangerous scoreline. We gave the ball away sloppy at the end of the first half. And I have just told the players I am not happy at all with the second half as I think we gave the ball away far too cheaply, and it’s two big errors for the goals.
“Then we suddenly found ourselves 2-2 with a team that were sending their big guns onto the pitch to resurrect a cup tie. They’d done part of the job.
“I thought we got our substitutes right, especially in Danny Rose who’s got three off the bench in three games, It was an absolutely fantastic strike, worthy of winning the competition itself.
“I was having tongue in cheek banter with him saying he’d watched me do that in training yesterday. I think the difference is my right boot flew over the stand and I don’t know where the ball went.”