CHASETOWN PREVIEWS / COX ANOTHER DEFENDER
Stags boss Cox weighs up move for defender
Nottingham Post, Friday, August 05, 2011
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox is weighing up moving for another central defender.
The Stags already had Rhys Day (calf) and Tom Naylor (ankle) struggling ahead of their 'friendly' at Ilkeston FC on Wednesday night.
?But they have now been joined in the treatment room by a trio of other defenders after the abandoned New Manor Ground clash that has seen striker Gary Ricketts suspended, pending an inquiry.
The Stags were leading 4-2 in the 68th minute when the Robins striker barged former Republic of Ireland international John Thompson into one of the dug-outs.
It followed the earlier exits of Ritchie Sutton and Martin Riley – that assistant manager Micky Moore said were the result of challenges from the same player – and prompted Paul Cox to lead his players off the field.
The Mansfield manager hopes Riley (stitches in a head wound) should be fit to start the league campaign against Bath City a week tomorrow.
But physio Jason Truscott now estimates Thompson (broken nose and more than 40 stitches) will be out of action for at least two weeks and up to a month, while Sutton (damaged shoulder ligaments) could miss up to three weeks.
Cox is also concerned at the amount of goals Mansfield have been conceding in pre-season.
He was again unhappy with the two they let in during the game at Ilkeston, which they were winning 4-2.
The combination of factors means their could yet be another new defensive arrival before the big kick-off.
"We will to have to wrap up Sutton and Riley in cotton wool, but I think it is going to be a while with Thommo," said Cox.
"I would have thought he'll miss the start of the season.
"Not only that, but we were a shambles defensively in the first half at Ilkeston.
"I still think we have a soft under belly at the back – and that may mean bringing in another player, maybe on loan."
Stags boss to choose carefully at Chasetown
Nottingham Post, Friday, August 05, 2011
IT was not the kind of night Paul Cox was expecting, nor one he will ever want repeated.
Making the short trip to the reformed Ilkeston FC for the club's penultimate pre-season friendly, the Mansfield Town manager was looking forward to a crisp, competitive match.
Rather than send a youth team, he opted to have a look at the majority of his first team squad against a Robins side who have been impressively rebuilt from nothing by Kevin Wilson.
In many respects, that looked as if it would be the case in a goal-laden first half that was entertaining and keenly-contested.
While Mansfield had looked less than impressive at the back, they attacked with vigour to net through Louis Briscoe (2), Matt Green and an own goal, also striking the woodwork three times.
But Cox was unhappy with injuries to Ritchie Sutton and Martin Riley that saw both requiring hospital treatment.
And things really came to a head in the 68th minute when Gary Ricketts' push on John Thompson left the Stags player with a broken nose and requiring more than 40 stitches – and resulted in the Ilkeston man being suspended, pending an inquiry.
After a visibly livid Cox had led his side off the field, he make a sharp exit, knowing he needed to cool off.
Having had time to reflect, Cox can now talk calmly about the evening's events, but his anger over what transpired has not yet fully dissipated.
"To say I was annoyed was probably the understatement of the year and I just had to get out of there," said Cox.
"I am still a little bit lost for words about it all and how it materialised. It was a game where we wanted to see people improving their fitness and pushing their claims to play the first team, not to see people going to hospital.
"We wanted to support Ilkeston because we know they have been through the mill financially and had tough times.
"But I think the club will have to review the way we go about friendlies in the future. It's a shame it has come to that, but you have to draw the line somewhere."
Mansfield contest their final warm-up game at Chasetown tomorrow – a team they beat in the last eight of last season's FA Trophy following a replay.
Cox admits he will have to rethink how he approaches the game, having originally suggested he may field something close to the team he intends to use for the opening game of the season against Bath.
He said: "The fact is we can't afford to pick up any more injuries and we will have to take that into account at Chasetown. It will still be a nice blend, but we have to have that first game at the front of our minds.
"The good thing is that the fitness levels are looking good and all the lads have had quite a bit of football."
One player likely to feature is trialist Nick Hegarty, who impressed Cox against Ilkeston playing wide on the left.
Central defender Nick Wood, formerly of Tranmere, is also set to be given another chance.
"Some of Nick Hegarty's balls into the box were excellent and I thought he gave us nice balance," said Cox.
"I would like to have another look at him against Chasetown, along with Nick Wood who did well when he came on against Ilkeston."
Worthington relishes Stags midfield battles
Nottingham Post, Saturday, August 06, 2011
JON Worthington is ready to meet the challenge of winning a place in Mansfield Town's starting line-up head on.
The former Huddersfield and Bradford City player has made more than 250 league appearances during his near ten-year career.
But he faces a battle to be a first-team regular at Field Mill because of the wealth of options open to manager Paul Cox.
As well as Worthington, fellow central midfielders Lee Stevenson, Paul Bolland and Anthony Howell have been added to the squad to compete with last season's skipper Adam Murray.
But the 28-year-old is not fazed by that prospect and believes it will be of benefit to the Stags to have so many players vying for starting berths.
"There is going to be strong competition in midfield. I know that but it can only be healthy in my view," said Worthington.
"I'm an ambitious person and I want to be playing but I know a lot of the other lads will be thinking the same.
"But if you are going to be a club competing, which is the type I wanted to join, then you have to have good players in all positions.
"This way you can be sure everyone is going to be on their toes.
"I think it's extremely important to have a tight-knit squad."
Wembley support shows Mansfield Town's potential, says Marriott
Nottingham Post, Saturday, August 06, 2011
ALAN Marriott believes Mansfield Town's Wembley support at the end of last season highlights the huge potential of the club if they can get on a roll.
The Stags took in the region of 15,000 down to the capital for last season's 1-0 FA Trophy final defeat to Darlington.
League gates regularly dropped below the 2,000 mark for home games in the closing weeks of the last campaign but goalkeeper Marriott says the numbers in London proves the interest is still there when Mansfield get a sniff of success.
And he believes there will be big crowds at Field Mill regularly if the Stags feature at the top end of the Blue Square Premier in 2011-12 under new manager Paul Cox.
"Wembley showed what a massive club potentially this could be when they were all right there behind us," Said Marriott.
"If you are taking 14,000 or 15,000 to Wembley when you are in the non-league it shows how much interest there is, considering the poor season we had.
"I know some of them were there just for the day out but there are a lot of people who do care.
"You can see that if we have a really good season then the fans will come out in force and spur us on to bigger and better things."
It was third time unlucky for Marriott on the big occasion having twice lost play-off finals with Lincoln City at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
But the death of his best friend, former Imps team-mate Richard Butcher earlier this year, put things in perspective.
"It's up there again with my disappointments in football," he said. "To lose again in extra-time is soul-destroying. No words could describe how I feel when their goal went in.
"I speak to Butch's wife quite regularly and Keith Alexander's son and I did get a message from them before Wembley saying Butch and Keith would be watching over me, which brought a little bit of a tear to my eye.
"That was an extra incentive to go out and win for my own personal reasons. But at the end of the day, that's football – it's more downs than ups."
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