“He’s a big character and passionate about the game, and he knows what it takes to be successful and hopefully that can rub off on me.”

Mansfield midfielder Lewis Collins is hoping that the passion and success that manager Steve Evans has had in his managerial career can rub off on to Collins who is on the fringes of the first team at the League 2 club.

Collins, who left Championship side Reading in the summer of 2016 is currently with the Under 23’s squad at Mansfield and is hopeful of a first team appearance at the club in the near future, having been an unused substitute on a few occasions with Mansfield.

The central midfielder will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former Reading academy graduates Liam Kelly (Reading) and Noor Husin (Crystal Palace) who have progressed to being involved in the first team. It was those 2 players that Collins was full of praise for during his young career so far.

“The best player I’ve played with is either Liam Kelly or Noor Husin when they were both at Reading. And the best player I’ve played against  is probably Charlie Musonda at Chelsea.”

Collins, 20, is keen to make a name for himself in football and progress his development, and make former Reading FC academy manager Eamonn Dolan proud of his achievements in his career.

Lewis also explained how pivotal and persuasive Dolan was to convince him to make the move to Reading over Blackburn.

“Eamonn was the reason I signed for reading, I was going to sign for Blackburn but the way he sold me the club I new Reading was where I wanted to be, he had a lot of faith in me and I hope I can repay that by making a career for myself.”

The youngster who has also represented Grimsby at youth level until he was at under 15’s level has also had time spent at Farnborough FC on loan and expressed the importance of getting regular game time in senior football as a young player.

“I went on loan to Farnborough for 4 months and that was fun getting a taste of senior football and it does help, young players need to play games.”

Collins was fearful of his career taking a downward spiral after he was released by Reading at the age of 19 but his hard work and dedication has seen him sign for League 2 club Mansfield and Collins is looking forward to what the future has to offer at the club.

“Getting released by reading was a huge set back for me and at 19 at the time it’s hard to find a new club but eventually after a few failed trials I signed for Mansfield and things are looking up!”

Collins has also set his aims high with Mansfield on the brink of the play-off positions, despite suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Exeter at the weekend. They face a tough challenge away to runaway leaders Doncaster Rovers on Saturday and he is hopeful that the club can push on in the final 6 games of the season.

“My aims for the rest of the season are looking to make my professional debut for Mansfield and to help the club get promoted.”

You can follow Lewis’ progress in his career on Twitter!- @LewiisCollins