COX CONSIDERS MOVE FOR SAVAGE + DEFENSIVE OPTIONS
'Too many draws', says Stags boss Cox ahead of first battle with York
chad.co.uk, Thursday 22 December 2011
STAGS prepared for their mouthwatering festive battles with York City this week with manager Paul Cox's half-term report reading 'satisfactory, could do better'.
Last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Southport left Mansfield Town 10th in the BSBP, five points off the play-off places.
That leaves the side plenty to do still as they take on fourth-placed York at Field Mill on Boxing Day (3pm) and away at Bootham Crescent on New Year's Day (3pm), looking to improve on a recent run of only one win and five draws in 10 games.
But Cox admitted: “All I have ever asked was that by Christmas we would still be in the pack of clubs chasing a play-off place.
“If you'd offered me 10th place, five points off the play-offs, in the summer at this stage, I'd have taken it.
“What is costing us is too many draws. If we'd turned half our draws into wins we'd be sat in the play-off places by now.
“We are on a very fine line between being a play-off side and a top 10 side.
“I can understand why some people are starting to moan as they are a bit anxious. They have seen this club get off to a good start the last two or three years and fall by the wayside in the second half of the season.
“But I think we are still on course for being in and around the play-offs. This time last year at Eastwood we were seventh from bottom and finished fourth.
“There will still be a side that comes up with a massive run to get in there and I think we are one of 10 sides that could get promoted.”
Cox was a very interested spectator at York on Tuesday where the Minstermen suffered a surprise 3-2 home defeat by Kidderminster Harriers.
“York are up there with Wrexham and Fleetwood as one of the best clubs in this league,” said Cox. “In the top half of the table everyone is very similar but the clubs right at the top just have that cutting edge to them.”
Cox, who is only expected to have suspended Ritchie Sutton plus injured pair Joe Kendrick and Rhys Day missing from his squad for Boxing Day, is hoping to look at a trialist or two again when he sends a side to Solihull Moors for a behind-closed-door friendly today (Thursday).
Cox considers move for powerful target man
Nottingham Post, Monday, December 19, 2011
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox is considering a move for powerful target man Bas Savage.
The Stags boss is keen to strengthen his attack options in the January transfer window following Paul Connor's exit to go part-time with Gainsborough.
He currently has two trialists in Celtic and Middlesbrough star Ben Hutchinson and Irishman Anto Flood.
But in 6ft 3ins, 29-year-old Savage, Cox knows he could have the ideal man following his recent release by Northampton.
Cox said: "I felt the front two (Matt Green and Ross Dyer) were excellent at Southport, but I feel we are a little light on options."
Another forward, loanee Nialle Rodney, will return to Bradford after making just two sub appearances
Geohaghon and others on Stags' radar
Nottingham Post, Tuesday, December 20, 2011
EXODUS Geohaghon is not the only defender Paul Cox is targeting for Mansfield Town.
The central defender is currently on loan at Dagenham, but it is understood he cannot sign permanently, having already been at a maximum of three other clubs this season.
It means the Darlington player, 26, is set to be up for grabs come the start of February and Cox is keen.
However, he expects stiff competition for the player, meaning former Stags loanee Ben Futcher, from Bury, remains on the radar.
Another possibility could be to sign loan player John Dempster permanently.
"We have got as good a chance as anyone of getting Exodus, but a lot can happen between now and then," said Cox.
"He's got a big presence and we have sometimes missed that since Futch has gone. We are always interested in someone like him too.
"John has come in and been consistent and if he continues with that we'd been keen to take him. You have to look at all the options."
Hutchinson backed for Stags by former team-mate
Nottingham Post, Wednesday, December 21, 2011
BEN Hutchinson could be a star performer in the Blue Square Bet Premier should he sign for Mansfield Town – but only if his head is right.
Stags winger Lindon Meikle played with the former Celtic and Middlesbrough star for the Nottingham City Boys from under-11 level.
He was also in the same youth team at Eastwood Town, where both played under current Mansfield boss Paul Cox.
Meikle is well aware of the immense talent of the now 24-year-old.
But he knows the biggest issue will be getting Hutchinson, who got his big move to Boro from Arnold Town, focused following some personal problems.
Hutchinson is contracted to Kilmarnock until January.
But he is set to train with Mansfield today and could play in tomorrow's friendly at Solihull Moors if given the go-ahead.
If all goes well and terms can be agreed, Mansfield may look to snap up the forward.
"I have grown up playing with Ben, so I know just how good he is and how good he could be at this level. He could be one of, if not the best player, around," said Meikle.
"But I know he has had a few problems and I know he is keen to come and sort his head out down here with people he knows like his dad and the gaffer looking after him.
"Hopefully he will sign with us because I am confident he will do well, although it will not be easy and he will be expected to graft.
"Ben will know what to expect at non-league level, having played at both Arnold and Eastwood. But it is a big drop back down and something he will have to get his head around."
O'Neill back on song at Stags
Nottingham Post, Thursday, December 22, 2011
LUKE O'Neill's performance for Mansfield Town at Southport proves a spell on the sidelines has done him good, insists boss Paul Cox.
The youngster had a superb start to the season that made him an early contender to be the club's player of the year.
However, the former Leicester City trainee was dropped from his position at right-back for four games following the 1-1 draw at Bath.
That prompted criticism of Cox from the terraces but Cox believes the way the 20-year-old came roaring back against the Sandgrounders illustrates it was the correct decision.
"As a football manager you always have the hardest job because everyone has their own opinions," said Cox.
"But I'm trying to monitor Luke and make him a better player in the long-term and I've done what I think is right.
"With Luke, if the mindset was 100 per cent right, then, quite frankly, we wouldn't have got him from Leicester because he may have been in their team. Sometimes young players need a rest when things are not going well. Sometimes they take their foot off the pedal.
"To the uninitiated eye, you could say that Luke has not played particularly badly in any of his matches – and that may be true.
"But the fact was he had started to drop well below the high standards he had set himself.
"Now he has come back hungry and full of desire and when that's the case with Luke, you have a fabulous player."
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