I would like challenge of keeping Stags up - McEwan

ONE of the reported front runners for the vacant manager's job at Mansfield Town has told Chad he would 'very interested' in taking over at Field Mill.

Ex-player Billy McEwan (56) was installed as a leading candidate immediately after the departure of Billy Dearden on Saturday evening, and said on Monday morning: "The club is in a precarious position. Whoever takes over has a very, very difficult job.

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"Maybe some would shy away because of that, but I would like the challenge. It is a challenge for whoever is appointed."

McEwan scotched rumours that he had been at Field Mill for several recent home matches, telling Chad that the only time he had been to a recent Stags match was for the visit of Chester when he was scouting for a manager.

He declined to comment further on the team and their recent slump in home form, saying: "I was there to watch a few players for another club and concentrated on that."

And he said that he had not applied for the job because it had not been formally advertised. But he added that he would be 'very interested' in becoming the next manager of Mansfield Town FC.

McEwan was a star of the side which won the old Division III title in 1977, taking the Stags into the second tier of English football for the only time in its history.

He said: "I had some good times at the Stags, one of the more successful times in the history of the club.

"I have fond memories of playing there, but it was a long time ago.

"I always watch for their results, I keep tabs on all my old teams, whether as a player or manager.

"I like to see how they got on and I still keep in touch with some of the old players from that time and talk about the good times we had."

McEwan is available to start straight away - one of chief executive Stephen Booth's crietria for the new boss - having been sacked as manager of Blue Square Premier side York City in November.

The experienced 56-year-old joined York as manager in 2005, following spells in charge of Sheffield United, Rotherham (where he won the Division IV title on 1989), Darlington and Derby County, and took them to the verge of promotion last season.

At Derby he worked under five different managers and had two spells as caretaker boss.

He has the necessary experience, having led clubs in more than 400 matches.

McEwan played 32 league games for the Stags, scoring three goals. He also played for Hibs, Blackpool, Brighton, Chesterfield, Peterborough and Rotherham.