Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans will ignore Crewe Alexandra’s poor form and concentrate on his own side when the Railwaymen come to town tomorrow (3pm).
Stags fans will see Crewe’s dire record of two wins in 20 matches and expect a home win, but Evans said disappointing recent results counted for little when Stags were out-manoeuvred by Morecambe two homes back.
“Morecambe were also on a poor run of form, so from that point of view, it’s never about what the opposition do, it’s what we do that counts,” he said.
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“I have a lot of time for the manager, Steve Davis, there. We go back a long way in respect of being on opposition benches.
“Some of their play up at Morecambe on Monday said they should have won the game and won it quite comfortably – we’ve had a look at it.
“It will be another tough game for us. But every game at every level is tough until you are 3-0 up with five minutes to go and then it’s easy.”
Evans is still hoping he can add to his squad at the 11th hour, though already has four new faces hoping on home debuts after the quartet of Yoann Arquin, Joel Byrom, Ben Whiteman and Jake Kean all started in Monday’s 1-0 win at Blackpool.
But he did suggest there would be changes, despite the victory.
“We are ready,” said Evans. “The players had a couple of days downtime because they worked a lot over the Christmas and New Year period. But they are back in now and they are nice and bright.
“We will pick what we think is right for Saturday. It is unlikely to be the team that won at Blackpool that will start against Crewe. We had two tough games.
“Over the two games I thought, if I am being honest, that our performance was possibly better against Doncaster Rovers and we should have won the game.
“Blackpool was very much like the game here, where there was not a lot in it, and one piece of quality with the through ball, and we won the game.”
It is a busy week for Stags with the Crewe game quickly followed by a home Checkatrade Trophy against League One Oldham then a big Saturday local derby at Notts County.
“If we can get a result against Crewe we are probably going to take ourselves within five or six points of the play-off pack, and that is where we aim to be,” he said.
“Get that out the way and we can look forward to the Checkatrade and decide what players are going to play in that, because obviously we’ve then got a big derby over at Notts County, who I am told by that time will have a new manager.
“It was a shame to see John Sheridan go after such a short period of time but it seems to me owners just want to change managers like confetti at a wedding, there’s that much of it.”
On Oldham, he added: “Any time you play a team from a league above, it’s tough and Oldham Athletic will want to make progress in that competition, the same as we do. But our focus right now is on Crewe.”
Only once all season have Stags managed back-to-back League wins and Evans said: “It was levelled at the team when I arrived that they could have one or two good performances and some people would think they had arrived and their performances would go down.
“We try to keep it on a level keel. Good players usually produce good performances consistently which makes you a good player at whatever level you play.
“But we need our supporters to come here with the same determination and the same atmosphere round the stadium as what we had leading up to the Doncaster game.
“I came into the stadium against Doncaster thinking this means so much to everyone, then I saw nearly 500 supporters at Blackpool thinking this means the same.
“So let’s have a good support inside the One Call Stadium, let’s get the three points and pop ourselves five or six points off those play-offs and let everyone see that Mansfield Town train coming, because it’s going to come.”
He continued: “I was surprised that almost 500 Stags fans travelled up to Blackpool in a part of January when money is tight just after Christmas. It was fantastic to see.
“Not for the entirety of the games, but I think for the last half hour of the away League fixture at Carlisle and the first half at Exeter we let them down as the sheer effort and determination of performance was lacking.
“I did address it in my team talk and said that is a minimum. These supporters have paid a lot of money to come here, so just give them a shift.
“All the players involved, including those that weren’t involved, and all staff gave it everything they’d got.
“As often happens when you do that, the quality shines and the bit of quality in the game from Greeny (Matt Green) got us the points.”