Cox: We can still improve
video interview with Paul Cox --->
6th September 2012
Manager Paul Cox believes there is still room for improvement within his team, despite seeing his side record four victories from their last five Blue Square Bet Premier outings.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Ebbsfleet United on Saturday, Cox said: “We did very well against Tamworth on Tuesday night and there were a lot of positives to take from the game.”
“But I feel that we can also still improve in certain areas and that is the biggest statement I want to make.
“I'm not getting carried away, because it's still early days. It's where we are in the league table around the Christmas and New Year period that will tell a tale of what we can achieve this season.”
Our manager again chose to pay tribute to the vocal One Call Stadium crowd that turned out for the midweek clash with Tamworth, saying they played a significant role in helping us to clinch victory.
Cox continued: “When the supporters do get behind us, it has a massive positive vibe and it really rubs off on the players and helps to drive them on.
“I'd like to say thank you again to the bloke who brings the drum, because he creates such a fantastic atmosphere.”
With no fresh injury doubts in the squad, our boss also added that he hopes to have defensive duo Andy Owens and Ryan Tafazolli back in contention for a place in the team very soon.
He said: “Ryan Tafazolli will start training again next week and everyone who saw him in the reserves recently will know that is a massive plus for us.”
“Andy Owens will also be fit again and in contention for the start of next week, and I'm sure both players will be pushing hard for a place in the team.”
Despite recording a comfortable victory at Stonebridge Road last season, Cox added that he expects Saturday's clash with Ebbsfleet to be a much tighter affair.
He added: “We're going down to Ebbsfleet the night before and we'll be trying to do things correctly. Liam Daish has done a great job down there and we know we'll have to be at our best to get a good result.”
Our next game at One Call Stadium takes place on Saturday 15 September when we entertain Braintree Town
Mansfield not reliant on Exodus Geohaghon - Paul Cox
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox has defended his side's use of defender Exodus Geohaghon's long throw-in and insists they are not one-dimensional.
The Stags re-signed Geohaghon from Kidderminster, who was on loan at Field Mill last season, late last month.
Mansfield have won two from two since Geohaghon joined, with the defender's throws leading to goals in both games.
Cox told BBC Radio Nottingham: "We're more than a throw into the box, and so is Ex. He has excellent qualities."
The Stags have had a mixed start to the campaign, but they have won four of their last five games since losing their opening two fixtures.
And although Geohaghon's return has been a crucial factor in their last two wins, Cox is adamant his side have plenty to offer as an attacking threat beyond the Geohaghon throw-in.
"We are trying not be over-reliant on it," Cox added. "We have good players who can create. We don't just work on the throws and set-pieces. We work on our open play as well.
"We are not just a one-dimensional team.
"First and foremost Ex is a very good defender and he has a long throw secondly.
"There are lot a of people in this league that are putting the long throw in the box. We even saw it with Chelsea in the Champions League. They put numerous long throws into the box. It's part and and parcel of the game that if you have something in your armoury you use it.
"The difference with Exodus is that he does missile it in and it comes in at such a low trajectory that any mistake in an around the box and it's a goalscoring opportunity.
"The amount of goals scored from set-pieces in football nowadays is unbelievable.
"We've been done for it a couple of times this season and we don't moan about it. We just feel we have to defend balls into the box better.
"Games we have lost this season are where we haven't defended well against balls into the box. It's a massive part of the game.
"The game's all about winning and if we can use something to help us win, then brilliant.
Midfielder Louis Briscoe, whose goal in the 3-1 win over Woking, came about following a long throw from Geohaghon, was in no doubt that his team-mate has much more to his game than the bullet set-piece.
"People say that's all he's got but he's a top player and he has shown that in the last few games," Briscoe said.
"Ex is a good player and that gets taken away from him sometimes because of his long throw.
"We just play our own game and if we get a throw-in we use it. That's the way we approach it. We don't play for free-kicks or throw-ins, we play to break down a defence.
"Having that option people will label us, but we have good enough players and options to break down defences in other ways."
Stags head overnight for Ebbsfleet tester
chad.co.uk, Thursday 6 September 2012
MANSFIELD Town are planning an overnight trip for the long haul down to Kent this weekend as the Stags aim to maintain their current improved form with three more points at struggling Ebbsfleet United (3pm).
The Fleet have won just one of their first seven games and sit 21st while Stags have suddenly seemed to start to find their gear.
“It's amazing what a week can do in football,” said boss Paul Cox.
“That's 12 points from the last 15 available and we are just five points of top spot so we mustn't grumble. But I still think we can do better.
“It's a long way to go but every team has to go there so we are not moaning about the distance. Getting paid to play football is the best job in the world.
“Going overnight gives us the chance to relax and keep the team spirit going.”
He added: “Liam (Daish) has done an absolutely fabulous job down there so we are under no illusions it will be a tough game. There are no 'gimmees' in this league. We will have to work extremely hard to get a positive result.”
September could be the month Mansfield Town come to the fore
Saturday, September 08, 2012 Nottingham Post
AUGUST is a month Mansfield Town are more than happy to put behind them.
After finishing last season third in the Blue Square Bet Premier, losing in the play-offs, the hope was of an electric start to the new campaign.
Instead three defeats from five matches in the opening month, shipping 14 goals, led to more than a few alarm bells being set off.
Boss Paul Cox reacted quickly to bring Exodus Geohaghon back to the One Call Stadium, in a £5,000 move from Kidderminster, and skipper Adam Murray returned from injury.
With seven games in September, it was always a chance to climb into the leading pack.
With Geohaghon adding steel to the defence and Murray his leadership in midfield, the Stags kicked off the month with home wins against Woking and Tamworth.
In fact, they have taken four wins from their last five, so there is plenty to smile about.
And while a long trip to Ebbsfleet today is a tough assignment, there is an opportunity to chalk up another maximum against a side that has won just one of their seven games so far.
September can prove a big month. But where does Cox want to be at the end of it?
"I want to be in the pack, in the chasing pack," he said, as his side kick off the day five points off top spot.
"I mean, the team that is top in September is not necessarily the one that will be top in April. You just want to be up there or thereabouts come Christmas.
"As long as we are improving in the right way and at the right time, that will do for me. We have come through a blip and I aim to make us better at what we do."
Cox said he will continue to shape his squad through loan signings, which will involve wheeling and dealing with players having to move out to make way.
But he is happy with how the team spirit is developing within his new-look squad ahead of today's game and feels that has a lot to do with the introduction of Geohaghon and Murray.
"Those two have added to a good spirit that seems to be growing and a couple of good results can change mind-sets," said Cox. "Both have been excellent but more importantly we have started to look like a team, where everybody has the same goal. Those kinds of groups are successful.
"We raised the bar so high last season that expectation levels rise but we have a lot we can improve on. There is a lot needs to be done but the mind-set is good and we want that positivity to continue. We need to do our job.
"We have taken 12 points from 15 and I think we can improve. We are a work in progress and there are a lot of things we can get a lot better at.We are doing okay, there is a spring in their step again."
As for Ebbsfleet, he is not taking them lightly, travelling down yesterday to prepare in the most professional way.
Cox said: "Everyone has to do these trips and we are not moaning about stuff like that. It is a long trip, something we have to deal with.
"We have to be mentally strong and enjoy the 90 minutes. Liam (Daish) has done a fantastic job down there and it will be tough.
"Last year we ground out a good result and whatever the outcome we will have to work hard to come out with a positive result."
Formation switch a bonus for Mansfield Town wingman Louis Briscoe
chad.co.uk, Friday 7 September 2012
PAUL Cox's decision to revert to a 4-4-2 line-up full of faces from last season has been a big bonus to Louis Briscoe.
The winger is just starting to find his form after a disappointing start to the season and said: “We have now won four out of five which is promotion form.
“We need to take that into our next three or four game. I think our poor start was largely down to the raised expectation after last season when no one expected us to make the play-offs.
“Not being involved to begin with hurt me and I had to go away and work very hard.
“Now we have nine of the 11 from the end of last season in the side playing 4-4-2 and I hope I am giving the manager a headache when it comes to picking the side.
“It's good to have Exodus and Adam Murray back in the side organising things. It keeps the rest of us on our toes so we are not caught out of position.
“I am happy to do a team job at the moment and, when I can, express myself.”
Mansfield Town striker Matt Rhead loves being a full-time footballer
chad.co.uk, Friday 7 September 2012
BIG Matt Rhead is loving every minute of being a full-time footballer as he plays his part in Mansfield Town's blossoming season.
The target man gave up a good job to accept a one-year contract at the One Call Stadium this year and, ahead of tomorrow's trip to Ebbsfleet, said: “Everything about going full-time is brilliant and I can't ask for anything more.
“I used to work 15 hour shifts, now I spend a couple of hours a day playing football.
“It was a massive decision for me to make and I do have a family.
“Being full-time I am getting to know the other players better and how they play. I am starting to know what they are going to do next. It is a real advantage being with them every day.”
With his size Rhead admitted some opponents may dismiss him as one-dimensional. But that doesn't bother him one bit.
“Some opponents just think I am on there to rough a few people up,” he said. “But I do like to play with the ball at my feet as well.
“Sometimes the defenders turn it into a bit of a wrestling match but I enjoy that. I will give them a nudge now and again.”
Spotlight on Ebbsfleet v Mansfield Town
Friday, September 07, 2012 Nottingham Post
Ebbsfleet (from): Edwards, Stone, Howe, Lorraine, Walsh, Ada, Bellamy Azeez, Enver-Marum, Barrett, Phipp, Elder, Ashikodi, Greenhalgh, Menz, Blake.
Team news: Liam Enver-Marum could return to the starting line-up after being relegated to the bench for the 4-1 defeat to Forest Green in midweek.
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Redmond, Sutton, Daniel, Jones, Geohaghon, Briscoe, Roberts, Howell, Murray, Meikle, Clements, Green, Rhead, Speight, Thompson, Wright, Beevers, Dempster, Stevenson.
Team news: Manager Paul Cox could be tempted to name the same starting 11 for third game in a row, which would mean influential midfielder Gary Roberts settling for the bench. Adam Murray is set to skipper the side again, playing his third first-team game in a week after returning from ankle surgery. Cox is set to continue his recent policy of no goalkeeper on the bench.
Danger man: Moses Ashikodi. The much-travelled striker has bagged two goals in the seven games since joining from York in the summer. He has plenty of experience having being at Watford and Bradford, as well as making one appearance for Rangers.
Directions: Take the M1 south before joining the M25 towards Dartford. Exit the M25 at Junction 2 and take the A2 signposted Canterbury. Leave the A2 at the Northfleet/Gravesend West junction. At roundabout, follow signs to Ebbsfleet International Station/A226 which will take you on to Thamesway and past Ebbsfleet International. The stadium is at the end of the road and roadside parking is available all around the ground but please be mindful not to block access or roads off the roundabout. SatNav: DA11 9GN
New-boys look to get Mansfield Town all singing from same hymn sheet
Friday, September 07, 2012 Nottingham Post
IT could be a late night for the Mansfield Town squad when they finally get their heads down at their Kent hotel ahead of tomorrow's match at Ebbsfleet.
The three-and-a-half hour journey by coach means a first overnight stay of the season and, as a result, the opportunity for the new recruits to take part in their initiation ceremony.
The dreaded time has arrived to stand up in front of their new team-mates and sing a song.
But as they head to this away fixture following back-to-back home victories against Woking and Tamworth, the mood is starting to change.
It is now four wins from their opening seven games and the goals have stopped being shipped, helping to raise team spirit and relieve the pressure from fans.
So when the likes of John Dempster, Luke Jones, Exodus Geohaghon, Chris Clements, Nick Wright, Colin Daniel and Jake Speight show off their vocal talent this evening, it will only help bring the squad together further.
Goalkeeper Alan Marriott is certainly looking forward to some light-hearted entertainment.
"It is the first overnight stay so there are a lot of lads making their debuts singing so there will be a few Oasis songs sung around the table," said the 34-year-old. "We will probably have about a four-hour sing-song given how many players will have to do it. It could be a late night."
The serious work will then take place from 3pm tomorrow afternoon when the Stags look to climb the Blue Square Bet Premier table even further, making it a hat-trick of wins.
Captain Adam Murray returning from injury in the last two games after a summer ankle operation and the re-signing of giant defender Exodus Geohaghon before those victories has helped make the Stags hard to break down, after conceding 14 times in their opening five games.
And Marriott, who has been with Mansfield since January 2009, said you could feel the mood starting to change after a much-improved performance in the 2-0 win against the Lambs on Tuesday night.
"Following the victory at the weekend (against Woking), we went in afterwards and it wasn't a lively dressing room," he said. "It was a relieved one because when we take some stick it hurts certain individuals.
"But you want to go out and savour the victory and that's what you have to do. That happened after Tamworth.
"We got on top in midweek and the goal before half-time knocked the stuffing out of them and gave us some self-belief.
"Sometimes when it is on a knife-edge, some of us lack not self-confidence, but are often waiting for a mistake. It is nervous around the stadium.
"But Muzza (Murray) is a character and a leader on and off the pitch and even though he has gone into the management side, he is always the same, it has helped.
He has added that steel we needed in midfield and sometimes that organisation when he can sort out the young players around him."
As for opponents Ebbsfleet, Marriott knows it will be a scrap but believes three points can be brought back north come tomorrow evening.
"It is a long trip, it is not a nice place to play your football and quite a rundown stadium," said Marriott. "I have looked at their players and they have a couple of decent strikers in their squad so they are capable of scoring goals.
"As long as we can keep our defensive record like the last two games, we can score some goals and get the three points and keep going in the right direction."
Manager Paul Cox has also noticed a different feel in the camp, brought about by two wins in quick succession and a shoring up in defence.
"I noticed a difference in the build-up to the game against Tamworth," said Cox. "I can see happy footballers and when you have happy players, they will always give you a good performance.
"It was great to see them come in and bang the music on after the win, all pumped up.
"We just want to be consistent and go away to Ebbsfleet and try to pick up a good result there. It is amazing how much changes in a week in football."
Winning all that counts for Mansfield Town – Marriott
Friday, September 07, 2012 Nottingham Post
ALAN Marriott admits Mansfield Town's style of play is not everybody's cup of tea.
But the Stags goalkeeper says when done properly, it pays dividends and will see them rise up the table.
Last season, Mansfield finished third in Paul Cox's first season in charge, missing out in the play-offs.
But they have endured a shaky start this time round, leading to the manager stating he wanted to get back to being the ugly, hard-to-beat, direct side of the last campaign.
That saw Exodus Geohaghon return a week ago in a transfer from Kidderminster and he has since helped stop the rot at the back, as the Stags chalked up back-to-back home wins.
His long throw-in has also been a big weapon and will be on display again when the Stags head to Ebbsfleet tomorrow.
And Marriott said: "Sometimes the style of play tends to overshadow the performances and, ultimately, the results. The results are what matters.
"I have always said the season means nothing if you do not get yourself out of the league and win promotion.
"The gaffer has always said would you rather have winning football or entertaining football and I think sometimes the fans do want to be entertained and I can understand because it costs them a lot of money to come and watch games.
"I understand people's frustrations but sometimes (you have to remember) we are non-league players and you have to go down that route for the win.
"When you have players like Matt Rhead up front, who is unplayable at times with his physical presence, sometimes you have to utilise that.
"Rhead in his first season as a full-time professional and is doing fantastically for us."
Mansfield Town's Alan Marriott determined to prove his critics wrong
Saturday, September 08, 2012 Nottingham Post
GOALKEEPER Alan Marriott is determined to prove the critics wrong as he looks to help Mansfield Town win promotion this season.
The 34-year-old will play his 136th game for the Stags today after joining from Rushden in January 2009.
Since then, he has been a popular figure in north Notts, the ex-Lincoln stopper impressing throughout his tenure.
But as the Stags started this season in indifferent form, Marriott found himself coming under fire, mainly on internet forums.
However, the veteran pulled off a string of fine saves in last Saturday's victory against Woking before looking equally assured as Mansfield backed that up with a win against Tamworth in midweek.
And he has a message to the cyber bullies.
Marriott said: "Everyone is entitled to their opinion and not everybody is going to love you and think you're the best thing since sliced bread.
"You know as a footballer, everybody is not going to be keen on you but when you get certain comments thrown at you it does hurt.
"It is not nice and you think do I really need to be doing this in the later part of my career, taking the abuse I am getting?
"I would like to think I have been a good servant to the club and I won't let it affect me. I am never one to shirk away from a challenge."
Marriott acknowledges it has been an indifferent start for him and his team-mates this season but he believes it is coming good ahead of today's long trip to Ebbsfleet.
"It has been very topsy-turvy, a bit inconsistent and we have a lot of new players, so you have to get to know everybody's strengths and weaknesses and we are getting there slowly," he said.
Central defender John Dempster has joined injury-hit Tamworth on a month's loan
Paul Cox believes Mansfield Town have turned a corner at home
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox believes his side have finally turned a corner at the One Call Stadium – thanks to the supporters.
The Stags had looked nervy on home soil with the fans getting easily frustrated, all stemming from their opening day 4-3 defeat to Newport.
They then beat Hyde and Woking at home, but still there had been nerves and tension in the stands and on the field of play.
But last week against Tamworth, Cox's side looked much more convincing as the game wore on, eventually running out 2-0 winners.
It made it three wins from four at the One Call Stadium for the new Blue Square Bet Premier season and the drum returned in the Quarry Lane Stand for the first time, being beaten by fans in the second-half to help turn up the decibel level.
Cox was delighted with the positive support throughout.
Cox said: "The supporters got behind the boys from the first minute to the last so a massive thank you has to go to them. They created a great atmosphere and gave the lads the confidence to go and play.
"The drum has come back, there was a buzz about the place and it is no coincidence we put in a decent performance.
"We did not look as anxious with the ball and that is massive credit to the supporters. Both players and supporters were unbelievable.
"There now seems to be a bit of vigour in them. The team spirit is starting to come."
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