COX, ROBERTS, KENDRICK, HOCKADAY REACTION
video interviews with Paul Cox and Gary Roberts from Mansfield 103.2
audio interview with Paul Cox from BBC Radio Nottingham
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Forest Green Rovers manager Dave Hockaday told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:
"Once again we've had the chances but we couldn't put the ball in the net. It's been a recurring theme for us but I'm really happy with the effort from the team but we need to take our chances.
"We've been better in every department apart from scoring goals. If we're going to make any attempt to get into the play-offs we really have to start winning games.
"We've got a few players coming back from injuries but whatever team I put out at the moment, they're playing well, dominating and creating chances."
Stags boss celebrates 'ugly win' over Forest Green Rovers
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox last week called out for an ugly 1-0 win – and he got just that with today's narrow victory over fellow draw specialists Forest Green Rovers.
After a run of just one win in 12 games and some decent recent showings not producing wins, Lindon Meikle's 64th minute strike did the trick against a side who have drawn 11 games this season – Stags drawing 12 - and only conceded 10 goals in 13 away trips.
A relieved Cox said: “It was an ugly game and an ugly win which is not great for supporters to watch – but I'd take another 19 of them now this season.
“So I was pleased the supporters came down to clap the lads at the end. It was testament to the lads that they had ground out a result.
“All credit to Forest Green – even with 10 men they threw everything at us near the end.
“Conditions were awful with the wind and the heavy pitch. I had to change to a 4-4-2 early in the second half as we couldn't get out of our own half.
“I sent Anthony Howell on and his physical presence helped the other lads out.
“In the back of my mind I thought we had lost the chance to score at half-time with the wind against us in the second half.
“It wasn't our best performance but recently we've played some great football and not won.”
He also paid tribute to a superb home debut in midfield by new signing Gary Roberts, who was again shown the door by a manager for disciplinary reasons at Port Vale and has a history of drink and gambling issues.
“Gary makes passes that few players see at this level and he is a significant part of the jigsaw,” he said.
“He does need managing and he knows I will come down hard on him if I need to but will also put an arm around his shoulder when he needs it.
“Sometimes you have to meet these players halfway. As long as he comes in here and does the business, I will support him all the way. He is still only getting back to full fitness.”
“It was close today but I don't think there are too many teams in this league better than us,” said Roberts.
“I felt this was the right club for me and the right manager for me to play for.
“This is a club that doesn't want to be in this league for long and I hope I can help get us out of it.
“I had a falling-out at Port Vale which was partly down to me. But the manager there (Mickey Adams) helped me through some hard times there and I can't knock him.
“I am just going to keep my mouth shut now and let my football do the talking.”
Rovers boss Dave Hockaday said: “I am stunned we haven't come away with a victory. Out keeper has been virtually unemployed and he is cold and blue! We have dominated vast portions of the game without scoring a goal.
“It was frustrating as, apart from putting the ball in the net, we've done everything we could do, especially away from home. We have dominated chances and territory, even when down to 10 men.
“I have got to be happy with the effort and quality of the players today, especially first half against the wind.
“We had some unbelievable chances inside 12 yards but either didn't hit the target or didn't get enough on it.
“We seemed better, in my humble opinion, in every department except putting the ball in the net, which we need to sort if we are going to make the play-offs.”
Cox happy Stags proved they can win ugly
PAUL Cox felt Mansfield Town proved they can 'win ugly' against Forest Green – and wants to see more of it between now and the end of the season.
The Stags claimed only their second victory in 13 games on Saturday with a 1-0 success over Rovers at Field Mill, secured by Lindon Meikle's fifth goal of the season.
It keeps them in the pack chasing a play-off place, ninth in the table and seven points outside the top five.
Mansfield have often played good football only to surrender leads, so Cox was happy to see his troops battle to a slender victory on a heavy pitch and in a gusty wind.
"Forest Green are decent away from home and had only lost twice away all season. It had 0-0 or 1-1 written all over it, but we ground out a positive result," he said.
"We had been talking about how to win ugly all week and if we do that another 19 times this season I wouldn't mind.
"I'm sure the supporters would back me 100 per cent in that because if we did, then we would be promoted."
Cox reserved high praise for midfielder Gary Roberts, who shone on his home debut.
He said: "The crowd saw what a great player he is. The pass he played in the build up to our goal was sublime.
"But it was not just that occasion, there were five or six other times where he could see the pass not many other players can and his signing is another part in the jigsaw for us."
Visiting manager David Hockaday insisted defeat was hard on his Rovers players.
"It was frustrating because apart from putting the ball in the net, we have done everything we can do," he said.
"I'm stunned we haven't come away with a victory after dominating the best part of the game. My keeper was blue with cold."
Roberts happy to let his football do the talking
GARY Roberts is keen to 'let his football do the talking' at Mansfield Town.
The central midfielder was a stand-out performer on his home debut – a 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers – and left the field late in the game to a hearty ovation.
But it is the former England U19 international's conduct off the field that has been the source of much conversation since his arrival at Field Mill on an 18-month deal.
Port Vale announced that manager Micky Adams had sacked the 24-year-old for twice turning up at training in an 'unfit state', which was reportedly drink-related.
Roberts, though, wants to be judged at his new club by what he does on the field.
"I had a falling out with Micky at Port Vale, but he was generally good to me and I can't knock the bloke," said Roberts.
"The falling out was partly my fault and through some of the hard times I had there, he tried to help me out.
"But what's gone on is in the past now and I just want to concentrate on the future.
"I want to let my football do the talking now I have made the move elsewhere and I think I now have the right club and manager for me.
"There were Football League clubs interested but I have been spoken to the manager here and he has told me all about the club and where they want to go. I know they don't want to be at this level for too long.
"We played at York the other week and we should have had three points and I think we showed there are not many teams better than us.
"In this game against Forest Green it was a tough on a difficult pitch, but we ground out the result we wanted."
Kendrick delighted with winning return at Stags
JOE Kendrick was delighted to make a winning return to the Mansfield Town side for what was his first game in more than two months.
The Irish left-back had not pulled on a shirt since the Stags edged out Alfreton 3-2 at Field Mill on October 22.
Kendrick resumed training just before Christmas after back and knee injuries, playing in one friendly.
But he was thrust back into action against Forest Green, perhaps slightly ahead of schedule, after Kieron Freeman went back to Forest in midweek following a two-month loan spell.
"I have to say I'm very tired but really pleased to get through 90 minutes considering I haven't trained that much and how long I have been out," said Kendrick.
"It was something like seven or eight weeks that I was actually out and that was obviously a frustrating time because I haven't really been injured before in my career.
"First I had spasms in my back and then when I started to come back I tweaked my medial knee ligament.
"It has been disappointing because I enjoyed it earlier in the season and I am enjoying living in the town.
"But hopefully I can knuckle down now and put some good performances in."
Kendrick says Mansfield were thrilled to get a clean sheet and hold on to a lead – a failure to do so having so often been their undoing.
He said: "It was impossible to play in those conditions. It always seems to be windy here – never mind Field Mill, it should be called Wind Mill!
"We didn't play brilliantly, but then we played really well in our previous three or four games and didn't win, so it evens itself out.
"We started the season really well and got a few clean sheets but we haven't had many since so it was good to get this one."
Latest | January 2012