Stags must win and look after themselves at Crawley warns boss Evans as finale nears

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans  - Photo by Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans - Photo by Chris Holloway

Steve Evans said it would be unthinkable and unbearable were other results to go Mansfield Town’s way and they fail to win at Crawley Town on Saturday (5.30pm).

Stags go into the final weekend in 12th place, two points off the play-off places and need a win at Evans’ former club combined with four of five other results to go their way.

It’s a tall order but far from impossible and Evans admitted: “It would be unthinkable and probably unbearable in my head if we don’t look after ourselves and results elsewhere meant if we’d won at Crawley we’d be in the play-offs. We have to do our best.

“It is a slim chance, but we have go to take that chance if others don’t look after themselves.

“I don’t think the top seven we see in the league table today will be the top seven come 9pm Saturday when we are all done and dusted.

“We have just got to go and put on a good performance. It will be tough. They have played well without getting the results and they have some good players and a manager I respect highly.”

Possibly the least likely score to go Mansfield’s way will be relegated Orient at Blackpool.

Evans said: “The boys at Leyton Orient will be honest and have a go. But do I think they can go and win at Blackpool? No.”

He added: “I have said to the players if we can’t finish in the top seven then let’s finish eighth.

“The boys have done marvellous to keep us in this situation to go right to the last day.

“We will travel properly and go down tomorrow. We’ll do everything right. There won’t be many changes as we’re going to try to win the game.”

After Evans took Crawley from the Conference to League One, it could not have been scripted better for him to enjoy a fairytale last day at his old club and get into the top seven.

“It could still happen,” he smiled. “I had a lot of success at a good club with great people.

“A lot of the people have changed now and there’s probably only two or three people there now in the whole club that were there when I was.

“But the supporters are great people and they have given me a wonderful reception on the times I have been back there.”

Evans has many good memories of his time at Crawley.

“When you go in as manager at a football club that’s stayed up in the National League on goal difference one season and two years later they are playing in League One you have delivered some success to that club,” he said.

“It wasn’t just me. There were some wonderful people – the Winfield family, the Carter family, the supporters who turned up in ever-increasing numbers. Their average crowd was 1,700 and when we left at 4-5,000.

“I still have family down there. My brother still lives down there with his family and if nothing else I look forward to sharing a beer with him Saturday evening before we make the long trip back.

“Success is hard to achieve. Prizes are hard to win in football as so many people want them. But we had some wonderful success at Crawley – not just promotions but with two cup runs in two years we went to the fifth round of the FA Cup twice and lost to Manchester United and Stoke City – some wonderful memories that will be there forever.

“We are looking forward to Saturday, seeing what it brings and, if it doesn’t bring the results we want, I will be sitting down with the chairman and chief executive on Tuesday and we’ll outline the plans between us and hopefully shake hands to go and have an assault and get promoted next season.”