LOMAS ON STAGS: No big surprises as Evans wields the axe

Lee Collins.
Lee Collins.

Knowing his hunger to win promotion next season, few fans will have surprised by any of the players released by manager Steve Evans today.

There is no doubt there are some good players on there.

But they have proved not good enough this season and Evans wants to bring in players from a higher level that have shown they can play very well on a more consistent basis.

From a sentimental viewpoint, most tears shed are likely to be for club legend Matt Green, whose 85 goals for the club have put him sixth in the Stags’ all-time top scorers.

It was Green’s strikes in the last two games in the Conference that clinched the title and promotion and, for those fans, will be forever grateful.

But his career was badly rocked by his injury after an ill-fated move to Birmingham City and his goals have been less frequent since his return, despite top-scoring both years with 16 and 13.

Click HERE to read the retained list announcement

Click HERE to read Matt Green’s thoughts on his departure

It was no huge shock to see Green released as Evans had been hinting at it for three weeks.

Skipper Lee Collins is also going and, while a useful utility player, fell between several stools.

He was fifth choice in terms of a centre half, which he was brought in as, and not a first choice for either full back positions.

Adam Murray began developing him as a defensive midfielder player, which Evans also tried, and he did have some excellent games there.

But Evans clearly feels he can get better elsewhere.

Keepers Scott Shearer and Brian Jensen have enjoyed long and distinguished careers and were probably the best goalie pairing the club has ever had at one time.

But Shearer had come under some fire for errors from fans and was clearly suffering injury issues by the end of the campaign while Jensen, who is 42 next month, is obviously in the twilight of his playing days.

With Jake Kean in on loan since January, the club had one senior keeper too many and it remains to be seen if Evans wants Kean again or looks elsewhere for two accomplished stoppers.

Midfielders James Baxendale, Ashley Hemmings, and Kevan Hurst all showed flashes of their undoubted talents but not often enough to win a regular place or a new deal and have gone too.

But terrace hero Jamie McGuire is a sad loss as he was the one player in the club who wore his heart on his sleeve every time he was called upon and got the stands going with his whole-hearted challenges.

However, his lack of regular games showed where he stood in Evans’ books and it would be great to see him take up the offer of role on the coaching staff from where his infectious enthusiasm would be a real boon to the club.

Up front Yoann Arquin didn’t show enough while Pat Hoban certainly had heart and strength and could hold up a ball up well at times, but again didn’t do enough for Evans, still scoring six times from 14 starts.

Completing a full ‘team’ of 11 players released, young centre half Corbin Shires had the height and promise but illness and injury just as he had begun to find himself on the fringes of the first team did for him and he can count himself unlucky.

Now begins the hard work of replacing these players with ones of a higher standard and I for one can’t wait to see who they are and what they can do.