COX PRAISES TEAM ETHIC / HYDE PREVIEWS
Cox praises team ethic
mansfieldtown.net, 23rd August 2012
With the squad braced for a bumper weekend of Bank Holiday action in the Blue Square Bet Premier, manager Paul Cox has praised the togetherness of his squad.
Despite twice trailing against Kidderminster Harriers last time out, Cox's side responded on both occasions before Lindon Meikle snatched a late winner as we claimed our first win of the campaign.
Speaking at this morning's press conference, Cox said: “The mark of a good team is how it reacts to defeat – and we reacted very well at Kidderminster,”
Paul Cox is speaking to Jason Harrison (Mansfield 103.2) at this morning's press meeting
“I thought we played very well and created lots of chances against what is a very good Kidderminster side. We could have won by a bigger margin and credit has to go to the boys.
Our team face newly-promoted Hyde and Grimsby Town in the space of three days this weekend and Cox is looking for his team to build on the solid foundations that were set at Aggborough.
He continued: “We're now looking to build on last Saturday's win, though I think the level of expectation has maybe got to one or two people at the club.”
“The essence of a good football club is having a strong togetherness and a good camaraderie when the chips are down. The players have shown me that they have those attributes in the last week or so.
“I said before the season started that there would be good and bad periods during the season.
“It's not where we are now, it's where we are at the midway point of the season that is important and I am still very hopeful we can do well.”
Cox has also spoken about defender George Pilkington.
The former Luton Town skipper was not selected for last weekend's victory, though the manager insists the 30-year-old will have opportunities to win back a place in the team.
“George Pilkington is a Mansfield Town player,” said Cox.
“I had to make a decision before the game last weekend and I spoke to George personally, like I would do with any other player. He accepted my decision, but unfortunately I can't stop the rumours that have done the rounds since then.
“All I can say is that George is a model professional and he will have chances to get back into the team at some point in the near future. He has worked very hard and done well in training this week.”
There will also be fresh competition for a place in the starting XI on Saturday in the shape of new signing Ryan Tafazolli.
The towering centre-half joined us on Monday having spent pre-season on trial with League Two outfit Oxford United and could be in contention for his One Call Stadium debut along with team-mate Jamie Hand, who has now completed his three-match suspension.
Right-back Lee Beevers has also served a one-match ban following his red card against Gateshead and may figure at some point in our two Bank Holiday weekend matches
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox says squad must learn to cope with promotion pressure
By Stephen Thirkill, chad.co.uk, Thursday 23 August 2012
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox says his promotion-chasing team must manage the weight of expectation better.
Cox believes the pressure placed upon his title-chasing squad was a major factor in Mansfield Town's opening week defeats against Newport County and Gateshead.
Speaking during Thursday's pre-match press conference, Cox said: “I think the expectation levels got to one or two people and we have got to be very careful that expectation levels do not get on top of the players. It is something we may need to manage better.
“We need to forget the hype, the talk, the expectation and the criticism that is on the club. If we do that we have a chance.
“We had a good pre-season, but until you get into competitive football you do not know how things will go.”
Stags rallied in convincing fashion at the weekend with an impressive 3-2 win at Kidderminster, a result Cox hopes will now kickstart his team's season.
“It was a relief to get some points on the board on Saturday with a good performance,” said Cox. “We created lots of chances and could have won more comfortably in the end.
“We have got a technically better squad this year, but as a team it takes time to gel and for the players to understand each other.
“The mood in the camp is good right now. You cannot manufacture team spirit, it happens over time. This week we have had a bit of a jolt and have had our backs against the wall, but that has helped team spirit.
“The music was playing in the dressing room after the Kidderminster game and their is a good unity amongst the players.
“The lads understand what this season is all about and the pressure that is on them. It looked like the lads were enjoying their football on Saturday which is pleasing to see.
“The league does not really shape up until after Christmas so there is no reaason for panic stations.
“There will be times when we play badly, but the mark of a club is how we react during the bad times and on Saturday the boys reacted superbly.
“We have to expect criticism at times and I have broad shoulders and can take the criticism, but we are only three games into the season and we need to be realistic about things.
“We had two bad results and we held our hands up, but the players do not become bad ones over night. We will keep working hard to make sure we have the right formula to be successful this season.”
On Saturday [article ends]
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox says George Pilkington is going nowhere
By Stephen Thirkill, chad.co.uk, Thursday 23 August 2012
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox has dismissed rumours that defender George Pilkington is to be sent out on loan.
Club captain Pilkington was dropped from the starting line-up against Kidderminster on Saturday following a poor display against Gateshead in the previous game.
That decision has since sparked rumours that the former Luton Town defender is set to be loaned out, with one rumour mentioning a possible swap deal with Kidderminster Harriers for Exodus Geoghaghon.
But Cox insists the speculation is nothing more than an untrue rumour.
Said Cox: “He is a Mansfield Town player. I had to make a decision on Saturday to get a result.
“I spoke to Pilks about the decision. There is nothing I can do about rumours, that is part and parcel of the business we are in. Rumours do not concern me.
“He has been around at this level for many years now and as far as I'm concerned he is a Mansfield Town player who will be fighting hard to get his place back in the team.
“He is a model pro and has been working very hard in training this week.”
Pilkington will be hoping to dislodge Luke Jones or John Dempster and win his place back in the team when Stags entertain Hyde at the One Call Stadium on Saturday
Mansfield Town must earn the right to beat Hyde, warns boss Paul Cox
By Stephen Thirkill, chad.co.uk, Friday 24 August 2012
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox is warning his squad not to take Hyde United lightly
Stags will be looking to claim their first home win of the season and make it two wins on the bounce when they tackle the Cheshire outfit on Saturday.
But despite the fact that the newly-promoted side have yet to win in the Blue Square Premier, Cox knows that they must not be underestimated.
“We are looking to build on the win at Kidderminster, it was a good result which gives us foundations,” said Cox.
“The lads looked like they were enjoying their football and it was nice to get off the mark on Saturday. We will be looking to get another win against Hyde.
“This is one of that games that will test us as a football club. No team has the right to just turn up and win a game of football.
“I want us to take the game to Hyde and be positive. We need to prepare for this game correctly and have the right mindset.
“The lads are working very hard in training. This is a very even league from top to bottom and there are no easy games.”
Stags are currently 16th in the early Blue Square Premier table as they look to get their promotion push up and running, while Hyde are one place below with two draws from their opening three matches
Mansfield Town v Hyde match preview panel
Friday, August 24, 2012 Nottingham Post
Stags (from): Marriott, Sutton, Dempster, Jones, Meikle, Green, Howell, Rhead, Roberts, Todd, Daniel, Thompson, Speight, Briscoe, Wright, Clements, Tafazolli.
Team news: New signing, central defender Ryan Tafazolli, could be included in the squad after joining Stags this week.
The former Southampton central defender, 20, was snapped up by Mansfield after a lengthy trial with Oxford United failed to see him land a contract there.
The 6ft 5in player may face a fight for places however, with no fewer than six central defenders now on the clubs books at the One Call Stadium.
Ross Dyer will certainly not be involved after the club revealed his knee injury is as bad as first feared, with cruciate ligament damage likely to rule him out for the season.
Hyde (from): Carnell, Brizell, Griffin, Ashworth, Williams, Brown, Spencer, Byrne, Lomax, Cassidy, Spencer, Jevons, McNiven, Blinkhorn, Frith, Douglas-Pringle.
Team news: Hyde finally made the step up to the fifth tier of English football after spending seven seasons at 'step two' in the non-league pyramid.
They won the Conference North title under the management of Gary Lowe last season – although he resigned in the summer, stating that he felt the playing budget he had been offered would not be enough to help the club avoid immediate relegation.
He has since been replaced by Scott McNiven, who guided the club to draws against Braintree and Barrow before they lost 2-1 to Luton in front of the TV cameras on Friday evening.
Danger man: Matthew Blinkhorn. The much travelled striker signed for Hyde this week and could make his second appearance against the Stags.
The 27-year-old former Blackpool, Morecambe, Sligo and York player netted on his debut last week, but it was not enough to prevent Hyde slipping to a 2-1 defeat against Luton
Rhead is living his dream with Stags
Friday, August 24, 2012 Nottingham Post
IT WAS a huge decision for Matt Rhead in the summer – but one he had to take.
The chance to play full-time football had finally come at the age of 28 and he didn't want to live with any regrets.
After talking to his partner, he decided to ditch the security of his long-term job at JCB to follow his boyhood dream with Mansfield Town.
And despite the club's slow start to the season, the former Eastwood striker is loving every minute.
Back in January, the burly forward came in to help Stags' push for promotion and was part of the side that went on a stunning run to finish third, losing just once in their last 15 league games, winning 13 of them, ultimately missing out in the play-offs to York.
He was allowed to do that on a part-time basis, combining his job as a team leader with playing.
Manager Paul Cox wanted him again this time round – but it meant turning full-time.
And after making the decision, he is feeling fitter and better than ever.
It showed as he got his chance last Saturday, making his first start after seeing the Stags crash to two defeats at the start of the season.
Rhead was a constant threat, setting up two goals as Mansfield came from behind to beat Kidderminster 3-2 at Aggborough.
He is relishing every second and cannot wait for this weekend's Bank Holiday double-header, with Hyde visiting the One Call Stadium tomorrow and a trip to face Grimsby on Monday.
Doing that without the worry of long hours at work puts a smile on his face, admitting most of his spare time now sees him chasing around after his little kid.
He said: "It was a massive decision because I have got a family, had a good job and you want to make the right decision. But in ten years I did not want to be saying 'what if'.
"Me and my partner sat down and talked about it and it is something I have always wanted to do. Thankfully, the opportunity was there and I want to take it with both hands.
"When I came last year we went on a great run and that helped. The camaraderie of the lads sold it as well and you want to be part of that.
"It is a lot better just concentrating on your football, knowing you have not got to do a 12-hour shift before playing. I love it. I just spend the spare time running around after the little one now.
"It is so different. I mean, just being around the lads is brilliant. Before going full-time, I was coming in twice a week but now I can get to know players more, what they are about and you can read things.
"This is my first experience of it. It is everybody's dream to play football full-time and now I have got the opportunity and I have to make the most of it. The biggest thing is the fitness, I'm so much fitter."
Rhead was as disappointed as anybody to see the Stags lose 4-3 to Newport in the opening game before being dumped 4-1 at Gateshead a few days later.
Last weekend's victory stopped the rot and put them on three points from three games, one better off than at this stage last season.
Rhead is full of belief the Stags will soon rise, given the strength in depth in the squad rebuilt by Cox over the summer.
"There are a lot of good players not even getting on the bench but you need that if you want to be going for the championship," said Rhead.
"Hopefully, we can get maximum points over the weekend. We just have to show the same application as we did against Kidderminster."
Matt Rhead: Competition for places will drive Mansfield Town on
Friday, August 24, 2012 Nottingham Post
MATT Rhead believes he and his team-mates will thrive on the competition within the squad to ensure Mansfield Town challenge for promotion this season.
The 28-year-old striker made a big impression in the second half of last season, after signing for the Stags from Corby.
He helped them go on a run of just one defeat in their last 15 games, winning 13 of them, as Mansfield finished third in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
In the summer, he quit his job to go full-time for the first time and is desperate to make the most of the opportunity.
The ex-Eastwood ace impressed on his first start of the season, starring in the 3-2 victory at Kidderminster last Saturday as the Stags finally put some points on the board, after losing their first two games.
"The strength in depth is a good thing because it pushes everyone to their maximum limit and it brings the best out of everybody," said the striker.
"For everybody who comes in, there is pressure on them and there are players who are not even at the game, such is the strength in depth.
"You need that if you are going for the championship. It is about taking your opportunity and that is what I am striving to do.
"There is quality there and you know if you get your chance, you have to keep your shirt by working hard for the side and hopefully getting a couple of goals too. We need to keep winning like we did at the end of last season.
"When you lose the first two there is a lot of pressure on the team and that's why that result (v Kidderminster) is so massive for us. It showed character."
Rhead hopes that comes to the fore ahead of facing Hyde at home tomorrow prior to visiting Grimsby on Monday.
"Hopefully, we now have the same camaraderie as we did towards the end last season and we can push on," he added
Mansfield Town's John Dempster focusing on one game at a time
By Chris Wilson, chad.co.uk, Friday 24 August 2012
Mansfield Town centre-back John Dempster says Stags must focus on one game at a time as they look to secure their promotion goal.
The Stags are set to play two matches in the space of three days over the Bank Holiday weekend when they follow up Saturday's home clash against Hyde with a tricky trip to Grimsby Town on Monday.
But the experienced Dempster knows that his team-mates cannot afford to underestimate Hyde and turn their attention to fellow promotion hopefuls Grimsby.
Said Dempster: “Both Hyde and Grimsby are good footballing teams and will both provide a big test.
“We need to concentrate over the Bank Holidays because it gives you a great opportunity to pick up points and jump up the table quickly.
“It is a big test for the players because the Monday after a Saturday game you feel stiff in the muscles, but once you're out on the pitch the enjoyment of playing football kicks in you soon forget that.
“”You can't just turn up against Hyde and expect the three points, you only have to look at the results so far to know it's going to be a tight league this season because all of the teams are so evenly matched.
“Hyde are a good footballing team and will provide us with a good test. Once Hyde are out of the way we can then turn our attention to Grimbsy.
“It would take a brave man to bet on any team this season. The side that is the most consistent over a period of time will be the side that wins this league.”
But Dempster, who finally signed from Crawley after prolonged negotiations throughout the summer, knows that if Stags are to achieve their aim of winning back a place in the Football League they must tighten up at the back.
Added Dempster: “We are working hard on set-pieces in training, obviously that is an area we are looking to improve on. It is just great to be back here
“I get on well with the manager and know most of the squad so it's good to get things started and get back.
“We've got so many good players and there is a lot of competition for places. Once you get your chance you have to take it and hopefully I can become a regular in the side.”
Mansfield Town's Junior Daniel looks to repay faith of boss Paul Cox
chad.co.uk, Thursday 23 August 2012
NEW Stags full-back Junior Daniel says he wants to repay the faith boss Paul Cox has shown in him.
Daniel has so far made two starts for Mansfield Town after joining the club from relegated Macclesfield Town.
It is the second time Daniel has been signed by Paul Cox after Cox signed the versatile player for former club Eastwood Town.
Eastwood-born Daniel, who signed for Crewe from Eastwood Town, can play at either left-back or left midfield.
Said Daniel: “The gaffer is a winner and has instilled a lot of confidence in me.
“He gave me a chance when I was 16 and I want to repay him for that.
“I have learnt a lot of things from my time at Crewe and it has made me a better player. You learn how to pass the ball and I also learned a lot from when I was not picked.
“I lost my way a bit when I was at Macclesfield and I hope this move will kick-start my career again. I hope to do well with Mansfield Town and then we will see what happens from there.”
Although signed primarily to fill the left midfield birth, Daniel has so far occupied the left-back spot for Mansfield Town.
But for Daniel being in the team is all that counts.
“I don't mind playing left back, left wing or up front as long as I'm in the first team,” he said.
“Getting the three points against Kidderminster was very important and hopefully we can kick on now and do well.
“The team's attitude is always good, we worked very hard at Kidderminster. We all want to win and do well for the football club.”
Stags are now set to play two games over a hectic bank holiday weekend that will see them host Hyde on Saturday before visiting Grimsby Town on Monday.
Said Daniel: “Hyde is a potential banana skin and Grimsby is obviously a hard place to go.
“We've got to be ready for both games because every Conference game is difficult.”
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