NEWPORT PREVIEWS / LEE STEVENSON FRACTURE
VIDEO: Forget the razzmatazz - Cox --->
Thu 08 Sep 2011
Manager Paul Cox has today warned his players not to get too carried away by the presence of TV cameras at Field Mill on Saturday and our current excellent form.
At the unusual time of 5.15pm, we kick off against Newport County this weekend in our first televised match of the campaign. We also go into the game as bookies' favourites on the back of three consecutive victories which have seen us rise up to fourth position in the BSBP.
The Gaffer has now moved to guard against any complacency which may have crept into the camp following our winning run whilst also instructing his charges to focus purely on achieving a positive result against the Welshmen by rejecting the glamour of live television.
"I want to make sure that we go into this game level headed and that we apply ourselves in the same way we've applied ourselves in the last three or four games," said Cox.
"We are ahead of where I expected us to be and there's still a lot of hard work to be done. We are a million miles away from being the finished article.
"We are seven games in and, don't get me wrong, we are in a nice healthy position, but there are a lot of things that could go wrong if we take our foot off the pedal.
"We've played some good football but there are a million and one things that we can still get better at.
"I'm probably sounding miserable now but it annoys me that we've got live TV, the game's been moved, we're playing a team who've lost their last three games and we've won our last three - it's got all the hallmarks of excuses (for underperforming) for me and i'm uncomfortable with that.
"As far as I'm concerned I want us to show our strongest mentality of the season on Saturday as it might be a case of 'after the lord mayor's show'. We are paid to win football matches and we should forget about the cameras and all the razzmatazz."
In team news, Martin Riley is a confirmed absentee as is Lee Stevenson who sustained a hairline fracture in his foot during a reserve game at Shepshed last night (a 7-0 victory) which is likely to rule him out for up to a fortnight.
Another player who is unlikely to feature against Newport is Tom Naylor who has spent the past week on trial at Championship side Derby County and played for 67 minutes of the Rams' reserve team's 6-1 win over Walsall last night.
Cox said: "Lee took a bang to his foot last night. We've X-rayed it and he's got a hairline fracture which hopefully won't keep him out for too long.
"This injury situation we have makes it seem like when we get one back we then lose another. It could have happened in training or down the stairs or something so we won't cry about it and will just get on with it.
"He will no doubt compare himself to David Beckham (who famously suffered a similar metatarsal injury) and he will be a big loss for the next two weeks as he is a proven goalscorer."
On Tom Naylor the Gaffer added: "The reports I've had is that he was excellent. He played about 75 minutes and it is one of those scenarios where will sit and wait to see what feedback we get from Derby.
"It's quite a grey area at the moment because we don't want to push Tom out of the door. It's a scenario where a few clubs have come in for him and if he does well and gets sorted then brilliant, if not he will stay a Mansfield Town player.
"He's his own man. If he wants some advice then I will give good advice but I think he is a strong enough character to sort things out in his own head."
Dyer eyes goals to help Stags strike partner Green
Nottingham Post, Friday, September 09, 2011
ROSS Dyer is determined to hit the goal trail – and take the heat off Mansfield Town strike partner Matt Green.
The former Forest Green striker has earned plaudits for his hard work, strong running and aerial strength.
?But he has only found the net once since coming into the side at Braintree, while Green has netted four times.
That is something Dyer is out to change for the better as Mansfield prepare for tomorrow evening's game with Newport County at Field Mill.
"In many ways I don't mind not scoring goals as long as we are winning, because it's my job to create as well," said Dyer.
"But I'd like to score more and if Greeny and me are both scoring then we will be flying.
"There should be nothing to stop Greeney going for 20 goals if he stays all season but I would hope to do that myself – I don't want all the pressure on him."
On-trial central defender Tom Naylor played in Derby reserves' 6-1 victory over Walsall, but manager Paul Cox is still waiting to hear if the Rams will make an offer.
He said: "It's quite a grey area and we've had the scenario where a few more clubs have come in since he went to Derby.
"If he does well and if it's sorted then brilliant for Tom, but if not he will stay at Mansfield."
Naylor is due on trial at a Premier League club next week – understood to be Fulham – if he does not make the grade at Pride Park
Green open to idea of extending Mansfield deal
Nottingham Post, Saturday, September 10, 2011
MATT Green is open to the idea of spending the rest of the season at Mansfield Town.
The striker – who is on loan at Field Mill from League Two side Oxford United until the end of the year – has enjoyed an excellent start to the 2011-12 campaign.
Green has bagged four goals in his first seven games, including a clinical double in the Stags' last outing, a 2-0 victory at Darlington.
It has led to calls from the Mansfield supporters for boss Paul Cox to clinch the pacy front-man's signature right through until April.
Green insists his long-term future is still undecided but is content with life in north Nottinghamshire and would listen to any offers from the Stags.
The 24-year-old is expected to line up this evening against the club where he started his career – Newport County.
"Of course how the season has panned out makes me want to stay more – if things aren't broken, they don't need fixing," said Green.
"The club have looked after me and unless there was an offer from somewhere else that I just couldn't turn down, then this is where I want to be.
"I'm happy here at the club and if we keep winning games then it is going to stay that way."
Green feels he is benefiting from playing straight down the middle rather than out wide, a role he has, at times, fulfilled at Oxford.
He said: "I have always scored most of my goals playing down the middle where I can get in behind.
"You tend to get more chances and then it's all about taking them.
"At Oxford, I played my part in helping the team get promoted, but I wasn't on the scoresheet as often."
Stags boss Cox wary of Newport backlash
Nottingham Post, Saturday, September 10, 2011
IF this evening's television viewers are served up the same kind of entertainment as when Mansfield Town hosted Newport County last season, few will complain.
But you suspect neither manager – desperate for three points for entirely different reasons – would relish a repeat of February's lively encounter.
That 3-3 draw first set off the palpitations for Stags boss Duncan Russell, who saw his side go 1-0 down after 18 seconds, 2-0 behind inside three minutes and 3-0 adrift before the half hour.
It was then the turn of then Exiles manager Tim Harris to suffer, as his side imploded to concede three times before the break – and have a man sent off.
Remarkably, no further goals were registered in the second period, but you can understand why Premier Sports are so keen to screen the rematch.
This time, there will be two new managers in the dug-outs, Paul Cox for Mansfield and Anthony Hudson for the visitors.
For his part, the Stags gaffer is hoping for an altogether more predictable affair – and, obviously, three more points for his fast-improving side.
But he knows a fourth consecutive win for the first time since the autumn of 2003 will be far from straight-forward, despite their Welsh opponents having lost their last three matches.
"I will be looking at our mind-set now, because we can start to think we have arrived after three wins on the trot," said Cox.
"I will be looking at the players' body language. I want to see they are in the right frame on mind.
"You look at Newport's start and where they are in the table and it is not a nice position and not that healthy.
"But I'm sure they are working harder to put in better performances and climb the league.
"Newport have got some excellent players – you look at the signings they have made, people like Craig McAllister, Ismael Yakubu and Danny Rose.
"They were my dark horses to win it before the season started. It's a horrible place when you are not consistently winning games, but I'm sure they will turn it around – just hopefully not against us."
County's struggles have piled the pressure on boss Hudson, 30, a former reserve team coach at Tottenham.
A slow start has not gone down well in South Wales, as Newport are thought to have one of the better budgets in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Cox feels for his opposite number – son of former England player Alan – having experienced similar expectations at Eastwood.
He said: "Sometimes having a healthy wage bill can have a detrimental effect, as I well know.
"For a start, people raise their game against you and sometimes you can attract players who have come to play for the wrong reasons. If you do make mistakes, they can be costly ones, but I'm sure Anthony will get it right."
Cox has already experienced the problems of an injury-hit squad this season, but now suddenly has the contrasting problem – keeping players who aren't involved happy.
"I have got people who want to play who are sat in the stands. I think sometimes the hardest place in football as a player is when your team is winning and you aren't in the side. You feel like a spare part," said Cox.
"But I try to get around all the lads individually and collectively to try to keep them stimulated.
"I do believe everyone will get their chance to stake a claim and, when they do, they have to take their chance.
"At the moment, it's a manager's dream because players are working hard to keep their shirts and others are busting a gut to get into the side."
Cox is aware that players can be affected by the cameras and the chance to impress in front of a national audience. But he will be impressing on his charges the need to focus on the task – just as he will be doing personally.
He said: "We have to be ruthless and not think about the cameras. Sometimes it can be a party atmosphere but you have to do a job.
"It is still the same dimensions of pitch as every other game. Afterwards, if we win, then the lads can go and stand in front of the cameras, do the interviews and take the plaudits.
"The same goes for me. That is not something I like to get involved in. I won't ever be wearing an Armani suit, whether I go on to manage in the Premier League or I go back down to Sunday football.
"I don't wear a suit on the training ground, so why would I wear one when I'm going out to try to win matches?"
Last week's match-winner at Darlington, Matt Green, took his tally to four for the season in the 2-0 success.
Cox understands the clamour to sign up the Oxford United loanee until the end of the season with his current deal expiring at the end of this year.
"Greeney has got a constant smile on his face, even when he is playing," said Cox.
"I gave him a rollicking the other day for something he did in the match at Darlington – and he was still smiling!
"I would like to think we can get something done if the consistency keeps coming.
"You certainly don't want to lose a guy who is scoring goals for us but, not just that, getting in some great positions and doing a lot of hard work for the team as well."
Stags captain Murray has more than one reason to smile
Nottingham Post, Friday, September 09, 2011
MANSFIELD Town captain Adam Murray is still grinning from ear-to-ear about last weekend's victory – but not the one you might expect.
The central midfielder was naturally delighted to help the Stags to a third win a row as they beat Darlington 2-0 at the Norther Echo Arena.
?But he gained just as much satisfaction in coaching Burton Albion U14s to a 7-0 over their York City counterparts on Sunday.
It's not every footballer's cup of tea, but Murray is one of those who would love to go into management when his playing career comes to a close.
And as his first rung on that long ladder, Murray is enjoying passing on his knowledge to the Brewers' youngsters almost as much as turning in match-winning performances for Mansfield.
"I want to get into the managerial side and as far as I'm concerned the sooner I get coaching experience under my belt the better," said Murray.
"It's about getting to understand a different side of the game and it is a real learning curve.
"It came about because I got a phone call from their youth co-ordinator Gareth Holmes (former Stags assistant manager) who I know from my time at Derby.
"He knows I like to play the game in the right way and asked me if I would be interested.
"I have to be pretty pleased with how it's started, getting a result like that, but the most pleasing thing is that the players did it in the right way.
"It's about how they are performing at that age more than anything else and trying to bring on individuals."
Murray is also regularly coaching young footballers in partnership with Notts County's Karl Hawley.
Their Front Foot Soccer School, still in its infancy, has proven popular, with a first holiday course due to begin in October.
Murray said: "I have known Karl through a friend from the age of 15 or 16 and he was best man at my wedding. We started this about ten months ago.
"Locally, we first ran it at Joseph Whittaker School (Blidworth) and now we are at Meden School (Warsop).
"The nice thing about it is that there are not many courses that are being run by people who are still actively playing. It is something a bit different and allows us to give something back to the game.
"Some of the kids you coach come to the Mansfield games on a Saturday and they enjoy getting tips from someone they have seen in action.
"Having kids myself, one of the best things is seeing just how much enjoyment they get out of it.
"It might only be scoring a goal in a five-a-side game, but to them it means so much. It's a very privileged position to be in."
The day job has been just as successful for Murray, with the Stags team now really finding their feet after a slow start.
The last five games have gone by with the Stags unbeaten, including three successive wins, all with clean sheets.
"I didn't feel we did too much wrong in the first few games, Gateshead aside, but every opportunity and chance was being taken against us," said Murray.
"We are not really doing anything different but now we have all settled into our roles and responsibilities and the confidence is there.
"I do think the new management team have made a massive difference from last season. On the Thursday and Friday we now go through everything with Micky (Moore) looking at team's strengths and weaknesses.
"There were a few times in the past where we have gone into games blind, but that doesn't happen now."
Murray is quick to pay tribute to the input of loanee Ben Futcher, who boss Paul Cox is keen to secure for a longer spell with his initial one-month loan soon to run out.
He said: "Futch is a born winner. He has helped us improve our defending but, as much as anything, it's his influence in the dressing room that's been most impressive.
"He shouts and bawls at times, which is what you need sometimes and what we have been missing before he arrived."
Tomorrow, Mansfield go in search of a fourth straight win for the first time since beating Cambridge, Bristol Rovers, Darlington and York consecutively in September and October 2003-2004 when they take on Newport County.
"We won't be looking at things like that, not the fact it is in front of the television cameras," said Murray.
"I don't think we will be getting carried away with a few wins either. We know we can only have a sense of achievement if we can go on to put together a run of ten or 15 matches.
"The good thing is that the team's success has been based on working hard and giving 100 per cent, so as long as we keep the standards up, there shouldn't be too much that can go wrong."
Murray will certainly be giving his all. He doesn't want that smile disappearing for some time yet
Mansfield on their toes to avoid Newport TV horror show
chad.co.uk, Thursday 8 September 2011
PAUL Cox has every member of his squad on their toes to avoid a TV horror show against Newport County tomorrow evening (5.15pm).
The big-spending Exiles have lost three on the bounce in an unexpectedly poor start to the season.
Stags, in contrast, have won three on the trot without conceding and Cox knows the Newport game, in front of the live Premier Sports cameras, is a potential banana skin.
“The fact that we are on live TV and the fact we are kicking off later than usual are all potential excuses for players,” he said.
“Mentally, we need to be prepared even more for this than we did away at Stockport and Darlington and it could easily be a case of 'After the Lord Mayor's Show' for us.
“We need to concentrate, stay level-headed and apply ourselves like we have the last three or four games. There are a lot of things that could go wrong and we must make sure we don't take our foot off the pedal.
“Newport are off to a bit of a bad start. But they have invested heavily in the side and have a good, young manager. It is early days yet and I don't think they will be pushing the panic button.”
“Similarly people will look at our results but only say we have potential. We still have weaknesses to iron out and people will not be taking us seriously yet.
“If we work hard to maintain our consistency, though, we will win a hell of a lot more than we lose.”
Cox added that the fans had played a huge role in the recent success.
“Supporters have played a massive part,” he said. “I feel the building blocks of the club are coming together. Credit where credit is due, they have been like a 12th man, especially when we have had to dig in.”
Striker Ross Dyer confirmed that, adding: “The fans have been unbelievable, especially away from home.
“At Stockport I've never seen anything like it to be honest. We have great numbers going away and staying behind us and we feed off that.
“They come and pay their money and we have to put on a show for them. They've been fantastic and we couldn't ask for more.”
Central defender Martin Riley was not fit enough to play in last night's reserve friendly at Shepshed so won't be involved on Saturday in what is expected to be an unchanged side again.
With midfielder Lee Stevenson fracturing his foot, his place on the bench will go to Adam Smith or Paul Bolland
Stags midfielder Stevenson suffers fracture
chad.co.uk, Thursday 8 September 2011
MIDFIELDER Lee Stevenson suffered a hairline fracture of a metatarsal in Stags' reserves behind-closed-doors 7-0 friendly win at Shepshed yesterday.
It has been a frustrating start to the season as, despite scoring 35 goals for Eastwood last season, he has been unable to get into a Stags side firing on almost all cylinders at the moment.
“I need to speak to our physio, Jason, but I don't think it's too serious and Lee may only be out for a couple of weeks,” said boss Paul Cox.
“It's been frustrating for him so far. But Lee is a very good player and at some stage he has a massive part to play in what we are trying to achieve this season.
“At the moment is seems we get one back from injury and then lose another, but it's all part and parcel of the game.”
He added: “It was a good run-out at Shepshed. I am not too concerned about the score. All the lads got something out of it.
“Their attitude was spot on. The lads that are not in the first team at the moment are applying themselves fantastically.”
Another Stags player in action last night was Tom Naylor who played 67 minutes of Derby County reserves' 6-1 win over Walsall last night as he continues his week-long Rams trial.
The game was played at Belper's Christchurch Meadow, where Naylor once had a season on loan with Belper where he was player of the season, and he partnered Scottish international Russell Anderson in the heart of the defence.
“The reports I have had were that Tom was excellent,” said Cox.
“I will see what feedback I get from Derby. He is due at a Premiership club on trial next week and I have now had a few more phone calls about him from other clubs. But we are not pushing him out the door.”
Stags right-back O'Neill has bright future, says Cox
Nottingham Post, Thursday, September 08, 2011
LUKE O'Neill could earn a swift return to the Football League if he can reproduce his current form for the whole of Mansfield Town's 2011-12 campaign.
That's the view of the manager Paul Cox, who has been impressed with the youngster's first seven Stags outings.
O'Neill, 20, was a summer signing from Sven-Goran Eriksson's Leicester City and looked set to miss out in early season until Ritchie Sutton's shoulder injury at Ilkeston.
But he has taken full advantage by making the right-back spot his own – scoring the winner in a 1-0 win at Stockport.
"I think Luke has been excellent. If I'm honest he probably wouldn't have been in the first starting XI but for what happened to Sutts," said Cox.
"But you can only admire the way he didn't feel sorry for himself and the way he has taken his chance since.
"We all know how he can pass the ball and how good he is going forward – as he showed with that goal at Stockport.
"But he is now starting to adapt physically with the timing of his tackles and putting his foot in.
"What I'm now looking to see from him is to stretch his consistency to Christmas and then until the end of the season.
"If he can do that, by the end of the season, with a good number of games under his belt, I'm sure there will be one or two League clubs looking at him."
On-trial Tom Naylor was set to play for Derby reserves against Walsall last night
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