Steve Evans: ‘festive period not pivotal to Mansfield Town’s season’

Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans.
Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans.

Mansfield Town launch into a busy festive period at Exeter tomorrow with manager Steve Evans saying he believes chairman John Radford is ‘quietly excited’ by some of the potential January signings he has suggested to him.

Although wanting to stay with the play-off chasing pack, Evans also dismissed the notion that Christmas/New Year is pivotal to a side’s season.

“I think three points in August, managers dismiss it and say it’s just a start,” he said. “But they are the same as three points in March or April – it’s just the significance of what those points might be later in the season.

“It was our job when we came in to make sure we came though the latter part of November and certainly December keeping ourselves in contention what that top six or seven.

“We will have a better second half of the season - you can put the kettle on for that now!

“Whether it’s going to be good enough to take us where we need to be we will see. That will depend on getting the players in we’d like to bring in.”

Evans met with John Radford on Wednesday and added: “I was with the chairman for a long time yesterday and he was probably glad to get rid of me. But I think he is quietly excited.”

Stags may head for Exeter in 13th place, but anything can happen over the second half of the campaign in a tight league.

And, like ex-Stags boss Paul Cox before him, Evans said his sides often come strong on the home run.

“You only have to look at what happened at Barnsley - another manager who is doing terrific in the Championship for them,” he said.

“I think I am right in saying they were around the bottom two at Christmas time and they got promotion at Wembley. It was an incredible achievement.

“But season after season when I was in League Two with Rotherham United we were terrible until the middle of February, then ultimately our belief in the players came through.”

Although he intends to sign three or four new faces in January, Evans added: “We have some very, very good players here. This is not going to be a complete overhaul.

“I’d say if anyone has a car and you take the two pistonheads and the gearbox out, you have a problem.

“But if you put good stuff in you expect better to come out and the group just needs a little bit of help – and we are going to try to do that.”

Whatever happens on the field, Evans stressed Christmas is about spending time with family.

Whether that will include Christmas Day itself will probably hinge on how things go at Exeter.

“Christmas a lot of work, which you are used to in football,” he said. “I am a big family person.

“I have two beautiful daughters at home and another, who is equally beautiful, so we try to get together as a family as often as we can and try to make sure that we say hello to a neighbour and we go to church and all the stuff people wouldn’t expect from Steve Evans. But my private life is my private life.

“You only get one family don’t you? And there is that old saying that blood is thicker than water. I think when you are a young professional sportsman or woman, your family time is your time off normally.

“We say to them don’t go and spend it with your mates going for beer and all the other stuff you try to tell them not to do – spend it with your loved ones. It’s that time of year.

“But we are in the profession that we have a lot of work to do over the Festive period, and that becomes the priority.

“My family fit around the Festive fixtures. If it’s right for us, and we’ll make that decision in the days ahead, we will be in here Christmas Day. I’ve done it both ways.

“We are leading up to two big games here at the One Call against Morecambe and Doncaster – two terrific fixtures.”