Mansfield Town have 'every chance of making the play-offs' - boss Paul Cox
chad.co.uk, Saturday 3 December 2011 08:41
CONFIDENT Stags boss Paul Cox says Mansfield Town have every chance of making the end-of-season play-offs despite the stuttering run of form which has seen them pick up just three points from their last four games.
Despite drawing their last three outings, Stags have created plenty of excellent chances to convert all three games into maximum point hauls - something which would have left them level on points with Cambridge United in the last play-off place and with a game in hand against Tamworth.
"This league is a very tight league where anyone can beat anyone. Even Bath who are bottom have taken points off fancied teams such as Luton and Cambridge,"he said. "There is a big pack of teams who can make the play-off places and get promoted, and we are one of them.
"It does not follow that one of the teams in the play-offs at the moment will be promoted, it might well be a surprise package who makes a late run and comes good in the final games of the season. We need to make sure we stay with the pack."
The focused boss is now calling on his side to pick up where they left off against Gateshead and bag all three points against Alan Devonshire's Braintree today.
Added Cox: "Against Gateshead we looked much more like the side we were at the start of the season when we went on a good run and hopefully we can recapture that form and go on another good run.
"There are still a lot of games left and a lot of points still to play for.
We have got a good team here and are not doing a lot wrong at the moment."
But Cox also knows that if Stags are to achieve their ultimate goal they will have to put their wasteful finishing behind them.
"We have got to be more ruthless and get more goals from other areas of the team. Draws do not win promotion,"he said. "It is important we take the Gateshead performance into the Braintree game and get some momentum going.
"If we keep creating the chances that we are doing then the goals will come and so will the wins."
VIEWS FROM THE TRAINING GROUND
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox has backed striker Matt Green, who missed several good chances against Gateshead:
"I need to sit down with him and have a good chat and probably put an arm around him.
"As a centre-forward and a proud player, sometimes when you miss goals you take it personally
"But I have a lot of belief in him. He's not missed chances on purpose and he's not the only one to have missed chances.
"We have to start being a bit more ruthless."
Mansfield Town midfielder Lee Stevenson to get a run in the side
chad.co.uk, Friday 2 December 2011
STAGS boss Paul Cox is backing attacking midfielder Lee Stevenson to bring a vital new dimension to his team.
Frustrated Cox re-jigged Mansfield's formation to a 4-3-3 line-up against Gateshead on Tuesday night to find a place in the starting side for Stevenson as he searches to add more goals to his side.
Mansfield have so far scored just 32 goals this season in 21 Blue Square Premier games and have dropped many points already after failing to turn draws into wins.
Stevenson, who joined Alfreton Town on loan in October, has been hindered by a foot injury for most of the campaign and has made just two starts for Stags - both times against Gateshead.
The prolific former Eastwood Town midfielder netted 96 goals in his last three seasons, including 35 in the previous campaign before he made the move to Fieldf Mill with boss Paul Cox.
And Cox is now backing goal-getting Stevenson to have the same impact for Stags.
He said: “We need to find goals from other areas of the team and we had to get Lee Stevenson into the equation somehow. He is a good player and did well against Gateshead.
“He has been raring to go and is going to have a run in the side now. We need goals and he will bring us that.
“The shape and balance of the team looked good on Tuesday night with the new formation. If we keep playing like that then goals will start to come and so will the wins.”
Mansfield have not won since they dramatically beat local rivals Alfreton Town 3-2 on 22nd October and need a win against Braintree on Saturday to kick start their promotion push
Mansfield Town defence can spearhead play-off push
chad.co.uk, Friday 2 December 2011
STAGS defender Ritchie Sutton believes they can use their solid defensive foundations to kick-start their push back into the play-off places.
Mansfield looked rock-solid for large chunks of the 1-1 draw against Gateshead and reduced the visitor's to pot-shots from distance before they were finally undone by a Jon Shaw header.
And Sutton believes that the Stags rearguard, which has conceded 25 goals from their 21 BSP outings, will help spearhead the side back up the table if they can also find their shooting boots at the other end.
“For the vast majority of the Gateshead game we did not look like conceding,”said Sutton.
“In general our defence was excellent but, as Tuesday night showed, it just takes one lapse in concentration to concede a goal. It is very frustrating to be pegged back in games like we have been.”
“We will take confidence from Gateshead into Saturday's game that we can get the three points.
“We are still not far off the play-off places, which is perhaps suprising with all our draws at the moment.”
Sutton added: “We are playing well and creating lots of chances and we have got to stay confident and keep the momentum we gained against Gateshead going.”
The commanding defender also believes the recent signings of Verma, Rodney, Kelly and Dempster will help give Stags vital squad strength during the second half of the season.
“We all have to be on our toes now and play well to keep our places,”he said.
“We have got a good squad here and it is important we stay in touch with the pack going into the New Year. We are playing well and are always confident that we can win every game we play”.
Mansfield are currently six points adfrift of a Cambridge United in the last play-off spot and with a game in hand against Tamworth.
Stags are likely to welcome back Joe Kendrick into contention for a place against Braintree, but loan signing Aman Verma could be set to miss out after tweaking a leg muscle in the Gateshead draw.
Marcus Kelly is also touch and go and could feature if he comes through training unscathed
Mansfield Town 'need one win to kick-start our season,' says Kieron Freeman
chad.co.uk, Friday 2 December 2011
ONE win will help kick-start Mansfield Town's faltering season, according to Stags loan defender Kieron Freeman.
The Field Mill side have drawn three and lost one of their last four games in what is their worst run of the season.
But despite the poor set of results Paul Cox's side have continued to create countless chances to kill games off and are just six points adrift of Cambridge United in the last play-off place.
Freeman now hopes Stags can take their encouraging perfomance in the 1-1 draw against Gateshead into Saturday's showdown with Alan Devonshire's plucky Braintree.
“If we play like we did against Gateshead then we can win on Saturday,”he said.
“The Gateshead game was very frustrating, but it is something we will learn from. All we need is a win to get us going and kick-start our season again. Once we win we will be very hard to stop.
“We are still a team getting to know each other, getting to know what runs players like to make, how they like the ball delivered to them and things like that.
“We are a good team with a lot of promise and I believe there is a lot more to come from Mansfield Town.”
Mansfield were held to a 1-1 draw against newly-promoted Braintree when the sides met at the Amlin Stadium back in August.
It was yet another day of frustation for Stags who dominated large spells of the game, but again failed to make the most of good territory and chances to turn one point into three.
And Stags boss Paul Cox says he expects another tough contest when the Iron, who are currently 13th in the BSP table, make the trip north.
“Braintree are a handful and a team with good power and pace,”he said. “I am not surprised they have done as well as they have this season.
“Away from home they have surprised a few people but they are a good team who deserve to be where they are in the league.”
Stags are likely to be without Aman Verma who was substituted against Gateshead with a muscle tweak in his leg, but full-back Joe Kendrick is back in contention after shaking off an injury
No appeal over Braintree skipper's red card
Friday 2nd December 2011
By Simon Spurgeon http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/sport/headlines/9399552.No_appeal_over_Braintree_skipper_s_red_card/
Blue Square Bet Premier rules mean Braintree Town won't be appealing against the sending off of Kenny Davis in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Tamworth ahead of their trip to Mansfield Town tomorrow.
Davis will be forced to sit out The Iron's encounter with the Stags along with Matt Paine - who will be completing his own three-match ban - and Adam Bailey-Dennis, who is suspended for totting up five cautions this season.
With defender Ryan Peters looking doubtful with calf and shoulder problems, the Iron's options will be restricted and they may have thought about appealing against Davis' red card.
Davis was dismissed after pushing away a Tamworth player who had taken exception to Bailey-Dennis lying on the pitch after being caught on the head by a boot late in the game at the Lamb Stadium.
Boss Alan Devonshire thought the red card was harsh against his captain, but said the club won't be formally questioning the referee's decision.
He said: "I have seen the DVD now, but we can't even appeal against it.
"You can only stage an appeal at this level if there is a case of mistaken identity so it has to stay."
The Iron will travel to Mansfield looking to get back to winning ways after failing to take a victory in their last three outings.
They did record a 0-0 draw against high-flying Wrexham last Saturday, but only winning one of their last ten Blue Square Bet Premier games has seen them drop down to 13th in the table.
Devonshire's side have been full of goals until recently, but they have found the back of the net just once in their last three games.
So the expected return of top-scorer Sean Marks from the calf injury that kept him sidelined on Tuesday will be a welcome boost for them.
And left-back Aswad Thomas is also set to come back into contention after he was suspended for the defeat at Tamworth.
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