Crawley Town welcome Steve Evans back to the Checkatrade.com Stadium on Saturday as Harry Kewell’s men take on Mansfield Town.
We caught up with John Lomas, who covers the Stags for the Mansfield Chad.
Here is his lowdown on the Stags.
What were Mansfield’s pre-season aspirations and how are they doing in comparison?
Bookies made them promotion favourites, largely due to Evans doing all his business early while clubs like Luton and Coventry, who spent more, were still bringing in players late on.
However, he has definitely assembled the best squad in many, many years and the pressure is on to get play-offs at the very least.
They have been a bit inconsistent though at times have sparkled. But now they seem to be getting into gear and are 11 games unbeaten ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Blackpool.
What is the latest team news for Saturday and likely starting XI?
Strikers Lee Angol and Kane Hemmings were back in training late last week after injury. Midfielder Joel Byrom has a groin strain and we will find out more tomorrow if he has a chance. Also midfielder Jacob Mellis has a ‘slight knock’ and was on the bench on Saturday but it won’t be enough to stop him playing Saturday if needed.
The XI from Saturday played well and could start again next weekend. Mellis and Hemmings will hope they can force their way in if fit. Likely XI: Logan; White, Bennett, Diamond, Hunt; Hamilton, Atkinson, MacDonald, Anderson; Rose, Spencer.
How is Steve Evans doing?
Evans has just celebrated a year in charge and said he feels every aspect of the club is better than when he walked in which is probably true.
He has said his new-look squad will gel over the first half of the season and then fly after Christmas. They are already in a play-off place and 11 unbeaten so he looks to be doing a great job.
Who is Mansfield’s current star man (inc exact position) and why? Top scorer Danny Rose has hit 11 goals and really begun to shine after struggling to get a run of games under previous boss Adam Murray. For a small striker he has a great spring and wins most things in the air and his finishing is excellent.
Who is Mansfield's current star man (inc exact position) and why?
Top scorer Danny Rose has hit 11 goals and really begun to shine after struggling to get a run of games under previous boss Adam Murray. For a small striker he has a great spring and wins most things in the air and his finishing is excellent.
Name me another ‘one to watch’ (inc exact position) and why.
If Jacob Mellis is picked in central midfield he is a potential match-changer. The former Chelsea man, who once cost £1m, sees passes and can do things that few can at this level. Evans is working hard on improving the other side of his game without the ball. If he can do better with his work rate and tracking back he has the ability to be the best midfielder in the league. At 26 he could then still play Championship.
What is Evans’ favoured formation and style of football?
Evans usually goes 4-4-2, often with a midfield diamond.