Will Akinde come back to haunt old boss Evans?

Barnet's John Akinde'Picture by Dan Westwell
Barnet's John Akinde'Picture by Dan Westwell

Steve Evans will come up against one of his former signings on Saturday as Mansfield Town try to leapfrog Barnet into the League Two play-offs places.

Stags head for London in 10th place, two places and only a point behind the Bees as well as three points off the top seven.

But manager Evans knows more than most that his side will have to suppress goal ace John Akinde after signing him for Crawley back in 2011.

Evans said: “This is a club that’s up there fighting for the play-offs.

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“I watched a full run of their game at Carlisle yesterday morning, they drew and should have won the game despite playing with 10 men.

“They missed a big chance late on from a striker that I have signed before, John Akinde – a big lad who will always be a threat at this level and the level above.”

Akinde’s goals have been vital for Barnet over the past few years and there’s a reason why he’s top scorer by some way, and why he was linked with a move to a higher level during the January window. The 27-year-old currently has 19 for this season.

An unbeaten League start to 2017 so far has seen Stags firmly back in the play-off running but now also just nine points off the automatic top three promotion places.

Evans said at the start of the January transfer window that he wanted his side to stay with the pace and be six points or better off the play-offs places by the time they went to Barnet, which has been achieved with plenty to spare.

“Targets are always moving. We have to approach every game one at a time,” said Evans.

“But we are only looking at the place and team above us. If you’re 10th in the table, you’d rather be ninth. You’d rather be eighth if you’re ninth and all the way up.

“All we know is if we can go and put in a good performance at Barnet that result will take care of itself.

“It won’t be about what Barnet do. Yes that will have an effect on it, but it is about what we do. Do we play at the top of our game?”

He added: “When we do, like we did in the second half against Orient last Saturday, we do tend to pick up a point or a win.

“If last Saturday had been a boxing match, in that first half I think we’ve took them into the corner, but not knocked them out in any fashion. We were a punch away from that.

“We were half a yard off it all over the pitch but we dominated the ball.

“But I think second half was the most dominant since we’ve been here. Could it have finished seven or eight? It could have done and certainly should have finished five or six.”