Stags ring the changes for Blackpool trip

Jacob Mellis of Mansfield Town - Pic By James Williamson
Jacob Mellis of Mansfield Town - Pic By James Williamson

Mansfield Town will again make wholesale changes for the Checkatrade Trophy as they head to League One Blackpool for tonight’s final stage tie.

But manager Steve Evans said anyone who impresses will be in his side for Saturday’s League Two trip to Crawley.

“We’ll make 10 or 11 changes – possibly 12 or 13,” said Evans.

“It’s just that there is a lot of football to come and there have been pressure games.

“We had to beat Shaw Lane and Guiseley and in between times you play the likes of Coventry.

“We have great players and when they are not getting in the side there comes week and opportunities where they can play. What a wonderful opportunity it’s going to be for some of them tomorrow.

“We’ve done it every round but what I would say is that probably three or four of them may start on Saturday. That’s the nature of the game – play well and keep the shirt.

“We have players on the bench that are really hurting. Jacob Mellis was on the bench on Saturday and when I didn’t put him on his eyes could have killed me.

“He is such a good player and he wanted to get on the pitch. He’s got a lot of football to play.

“He was absolutely outstanding here against Stevenage and is a wonderful footballer.”

Evans continued: “We have to be nice and fresh. I have a lot of respect for the management up there – he should still be in the Championship.

“Blackburn Rovers would still be in the Championship if Gary had kept his job. He’s a good guy. It was no surprise he took Blackpool up.

“We will base our team on what will be good for us.”

However, Evans stressed it would be a strong side, Stags want to progress, and there would be no experimentation.

“We want to win,” he said. “There will be nothing off the seat of our pants, that’s for sure. It will be off the seat of the training ground.

“Arguably the team we play tomorrow night could play in League Two.

“Are we going to be good enough to deal with Blackpool? I don’t know. We are playing a team that got promoted out of League Two and they are very well equipped.”

Striker Lee Angol returns from injury tonight as will Mellis, who wasn’t 100 per cent on Saturday.

But striker Kane Hemmings will need to prove he is fully fit before he joins the party tonight and mnidfielder Joel Byrom will be left behind with his groin strain but has a ‘slight chance’ for the weekend.

Don’t miss our live updates from the game tonight at www.chad.co.uk