OPINION: Transfer window the most important January news

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Cambridge United v Mansfield Town; 13/1/18  KO 15.00; Cambs Glass Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Steve Evans sees the funny side
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Cambridge United v Mansfield Town; 13/1/18 KO 15.00; Cambs Glass Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Steve Evans sees the funny side

FA Cup excitement has, understandably, reached fever pitch off the pitch at the One Call Stadium in recent days.

But as the fans dreamed of the chance to entertain Premier League leaders Manchester City and the club sought to maximise the financial opportunities around the Third Round replay with Cardiff City, manager Steve Evans rightly said the focus should be on the League Two campaign.

Promotion to League One is the major focus of everyone at the Stags and Evans was delighted that his players did not take their eye off the ball at Cambridge on Saturday as they claimed another vital point.

That meant they stayed in the play-off places and stretched their fine run to one defeat in 20 matches ahead of the cup replay.

Now, irrespective of what happens in the cup, the most important thing that can happen in the next few days is Evans being able to strengthen his squad for the busy second half of the season and holding on to the players he wants to keep.

No doubt some fringe players may leave, perhaps on loan, but how encouraging it was last week to hear Evans say the club had rejected sizeable bids for three players.

They are players Evans no doubt feels have a part to play in the coming months and the manager said he felt the bids would have been accepted by owner John Radford a year ago.

That showed the ambition of those at the top of the club to be watching League One football at the One Call Stadium next season.

Evans has identified players he wants to bring in, but it was also good to hear him last week pull out of a deal for one of them — Lee Frecklington — when it became clear the striker would rather play for his hometown club, Lincoln City.

Inevitably, Frecklington scored on his Imps debut on Saturday, but the decision showed what a good judge and man-manager Evans is and why his experience will be vital over the coming weeks in an increasingly tight race for promotion.