COX, GEOHAGHON AND KEVIN WILKIN REACTION
Paul Cox post match interview
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"I thought the lads were excellent and I think anyone, even the neutral would have said tonight that we deserved the three points.
"On the night I think Nuneaton probably had two shots on target and scored.
"But we've done everything, we've hit the bar twice, the keeper's pulled off some great saves. I think the most important thing is the level of performance and the way we've played."
Stags boss Cox happy, despite failure to beat bottom side Nuneaton
DESPITE being unable to beat bottom side Nuneaton Town at Liberty Way last night, Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox is convinced he has seen enough in the last two games to suggest his side have what it takes this season.
Stags were unable to beat minnows Slough Town in Saturday's FA Cup 0-0 draw, despite a one-way second half, and last night had to come from behind to take a 1-1 draw, dominating most of the game and twice hitting the bar.
“What we have done in the second half on Saturday and throughout the Nuneaton game is to raise the level of performance,” he said.
“We deserved criticism for the displays at Cambridge and Dartford. But in the second half on Saturday and over the 90 minutes at Nuneaton we were excellent both with and without the ball. I can't fault them.
“We passed it well and our overall play was excellent. The boys are a bit down tonight as they know their performance warranted more. Maybe we needed a bad performance but a win? I think Nuneaton only had two shots and one flew in.
“But the players are not stupid and know that if they put in performances like that they will win a lot of football matches. They just need to finish all the good play off.
“There were some great individual performances at Nuneaton and, collectively, the team were excellent. I don't know how we didn't win by three or four. There were a lot of positives. We just needed that extra goal.
“The hunger we showed tonight was immense. Now it's all about keeping that hunger and desire and that belief.”
The 180 Stags in the paltry 838 crowd on a freezing cold and windy Warwickshire night clapped their side off at the end. But, inevitably, after a 1-1 draw away to the BSBP's bottom side, there were some fans who didn't go to the game immediately calling for Cox to leave the club on the internet this morning.
However, Cox said: “Some people will always have a half-empty glass. I am only interested in those with a half-full glass who want to get behind us.
“The fans who were here tonight can go home happy, knowing we deserved to win and that every player gave 100 per cent.
“At the minute everything is hitting the bar and their keeper is making a world class save while the opposition have one shot and it's flying in.”
Cox is set to offload players
PAUL Cox is set to trim down his squad as he looks to move forward with a more compact group of players to lift them up the Blue Square Bet Premier.
In the summer he rebuilt his Mansfield Town squad, boosting the first-team number to more than 30 players, making 11 signings before the campaign started and more since.
But following an indifferent beginning to the campaign after last season's third-placed finish, Cox feels he knows what is necessary to get the Stags back to winning consistently.
Already he has released Soloman Taiwo after he had made just one start on a short-term contract. But more senior players are set to be moved on in the next few weeks and months.
Cox said: "Soloman came in when we were short on midfielders when the injury list was horrendous.
"But now we have players coming back I want to make decisions on the entirety of the squad and see who will be here to take us forward."
Asked if that meant players moving on, he added: "Obviously. It is not rocket science to work out we have been up and down this season and something needs to be done about it."
Mansfield had hoped to extend goalkeeper Liam Mitchell's loan from Notts County before last night's game but the shot-stopper was instead on the bench for the Magpies at Colchester.
Talks are still ongoing, with the Stags wanting Mitchell made available for the FA Cup, which was vetoed in the previous month's deal
Geohaghon: Smaller squad will help Stags improve
Thursday, November 08, 2012 Nottingham Post
STRIPPING back Mansfield Town's massive squad will bring about the togetherness to help lead the Stags up the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
That is the view of giant defender Exodus Geohaghon, who arrived on loan last season and saw first-hand how a core squad of players could come together as they lost once in their last 15 games to finish third and reach the play-offs.
But since he joined permanently at the end of August, the 27-year-old has seen the squad size increase dramatically, with 35 players on the books at one point.
They have since stuttered to 14th place after 16 games, ahead of hosting Southport this Saturday.
Manager Paul Cox admits he made a mistake bolstering so much, but he has taken a decision to strip it back and will allow players to leave. meaning a smaller squad coming together for first-team training.
There was a much-improved performance in midweek, as Stags drew 1-1 at Nuneaton in a game they dominated.
And Geohaghon hopes the next couple of months will bear the fruits of Cox's decision, as he looks to name a consistent side.
Geohaghon said: "Sometimes the numbers are too big so it is hard to get your point across to all the players so the gaffer has decided to downsize again and it now feels like when I came here last season.
"You could see in the performance against Nuneaton it is starting to work and hopefully now the transformation will continue.
"We have not been beaten at home since I arrived so it is nice to get back there. But we need the win because we have to get up there.
"We will look to take the game to them."
Cox: We deserved three points
Manager Paul Cox was left pleased by the desire and application that his team showed in our 1-1 draw with bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton Town last night.
Nick Wright's equaliser on the hour mark cancelled out Connor Taylor's opener for the hosts, though we could have won the game had it not been for some misfortune infront of goal.
Both Lindon Meikle and Junior Daniel crashed efforts against the woodwork, whilst John Dempster saw a close range header saved by Nuneaton shot-stopper Ben McNamara in stoppage time.
But Cox was left pleased by what he saw from his players.
He said: “I think the most important thing was our level of performance. As a manager, I look for the desire and application and I couldn't question it at all.”
“When we went a goal down, our level of performance rose, so there were a lot of positives to take from the game and even the neutral would have said we deserved the three points.”
The result brought an end to a retched recent run of form on the road, which had seen us lose both of our previous league games away from One Call Stadium prior to last night.
Cox continued: “Everything at the moment is either hitting the woodwork or the keeper is pulling off a world class save. But I'm still pleased with how hard the lads worked.”
“Some of our play was excellent. The football leading up to when Lindon Meikle hit the bar was on another level and we played some very good stuff throughout.”
Our boss added: “We have a great foundation to build on and that's what we're looking to do now.”
Mid-table Southport make the trip to North Nottinghamshire for our next Blue Square Bet Premier encounter this weekend
Positive Cox has reshaped Mansfield Town squad – now he wants unbeaten run
Friday, November 09, 2012 Nottingham Post
FOR a manager whose side have won just once in seven league games and were held by bottom side Nuneaton in midweek, Paul Cox emerged looking and sounding rather upbeat.
Instead of being full of frustration and disbelief, trying to put his finger on what was required to put things right, he was just desperate to get to tomorrow's game with Southport.
And it wasn't just the 90-minute performance of dominance, creating endless chances, that had put Cox in a positive mood as he started to look with optimism about what could be waiting around the corner.
It did not produce the three points it merited but the togetherness and belief in the 1-1 showing on Tuesday night, as well as the work ethic and solidarity, left Cox feeling vindicated in his earlier decision to trim his squad, to inform some senior players that their futures lie elsewhere.
It was not easy with some no longer training with the first team, but Cox felt the time had come – after such an up-and-down start to the campaign – to get it sorted.
The manager admits he made a mistake in putting together such a big squad in the summer following last season's third-placed finish.
And now he wants to go back to what has served him so well during his managerial career – a tight-knit group all buying into the same vision.
The football might not always be pretty but it helped them go on a superb run at the end of last season, winning 13 and drawing one of their last 15 games.
By taking the decision to act now, with 30 games remaining and 90 points to play for, Cox hopes in the near future the Stags can put together a similar run.
"There is a lot happening behind the scenes, we are stripping the squad back and we now have a nice, tight-knit group training together and it has shown in our performances," said Cox.
"There is a spring in there now and it looks like it is coming.
"The majority of my sides have been built on team ethic and it has been tough on one or two but I have had to make tough decisions and that showed in the second half against Slough and from the first to the last minute against Nuneaton.
"I took on a big squad this year and that is probably down to me making a mistake, so I have had to make some big decisions and I have upset one or two people.
"I am not afraid to do that and players have been told.
"I need to keep this core together and if needs be, I will freshen it up with players who have desire and want to win for this football club."
The Stags, who are 14th, have won just once on the road in the league and shipped 22 goals – losing 4-1 at Gateshead, Grimsby and Cambridge this season.
"If it was happening once every blue moon, you don't mind," added Cox. "But it was happening in games, in training and the group was split.
"I wanted to narrow it down to a group that I know is hungry and want to play here and be here for the right reasons and be successful. That is what I am all about. We are getting there.
"We did not win at Nuneaton so we are not going overboard. It was the level of performance that leaves me in no doubt we have something to build on.
"We build that into the Southport game and take it from there."
Although Cox was impressed with the performance, a lack of goals in the 1-1 draw meant Mansfield had to settle for a draw in midweek.
That followed drawing a blank in the 0-0 scoreline with Slough in the FA Cup and not netting at Dartford.
Top scorer Jake Speight is set to return tomorrow to face Southport at the One Call Stadium and Cox hopes the chances can be turned into goals.
"We need to tidy things up and get better but I was just pleased with the way the boys applied themselves and their desire against Nuneaton," he said. "I thought they were excellent and a credit to Mansfield Town.
"You make your own luck and what we did in midweek and in the second half on Saturday was put a level of performance in that was a big improvement. When you look at our performances away at Dartford and at Cambridge, they warranted criticism.
"But the other night for 90 minutes the lads worked extremely hard with and without the ball and some of the football we played was excellent.
"Now we need to finish some of the chances we create."
Wilkin admits failure to turn draws into wins is costing Boro
by MATT DAVIES
NUNEATON Town manager Kevin Wilkin admits an increasingly frustrating run of draws is costing his team as they remain bottom of Blue Square Bet Premier.
Tuesday night's game against Mansfield finished 1-1 as it became their fifth straight home draw in the league and fifth in a row over 90 minutes in all competitions.
While Wilkin feels a point against the underachieving Stags was a positive, he believes Boro must learn how to hang on to leads as they have now held the advantage in 10 games but only won three this season, one of which came in the FA Cup.
He said: “It's frustrating to draw again after taking the lead. It was the same on Saturday (at Luton) as we scored first against a team who would be hoping to win the league.
“We've only drawn the games. It's about closing it out, but we are talking fine lines.
“We are making progress but it's slow. Hopefully with players coming back into the fold we'll have more competition.
“Mansfield are a strong side. They've got an embarrassment of riches when it comes to players.
“We got a draw, but we need to start winning games. We've got injuries that aren't helping, but I don't think anyone can doubt the endeavour of the players.
“Quality lets us down, but commitment doesn't. We've got to scrap in every game and we are.
“The boys are trying to overcome the difficulties of being part-time in this league.”
After an abysmal first half which was dominated by a strong wind, Connor Taylor gave Boro the lead with his first for the club, a brilliant 20-yard curling a shot in to the far corner.
Nick Wright slid in a fine cross from Louis Briscoe soon after, but Wilkin felt his team should have defended the goal better.
“They are an attritional side they want to load the ball up. They've got a great weapon in Exodus Geohaghon's long throw.
“We defended manfully. I don't think people realise how big of an effect the wind had.
“To get to 0-0 at half-time was a bonus. They had more possession but we hung in there.
“Connor didn't get much service in the first half, but he kept going and when we needed him to give us an edge he did with a great goal.
“It was a shame we couldn't hold on. We should have cleared it properly initially. After that it was a good ball into the box that was well finished,” he said.
Wilkin kept faith with Ben McNamara in goal despite having Adam Smith fit and available again. He felt the Australian rewarded his belief.
“Ben played well. He played well on Saturday.
“He's improving all the time. We've spoken a lot about what he needs to do and he's eager to do it.
“It can take time but it's important he gets better as the team get better,” he said.
Wilkin was without striker Tyrell Waite (thigh) and utility man David McNamee (calf). Waite may be fit for Saturday's trip to Kidderminster Harriers, but McNamee is out for two to three weeks, something the Boro boss admits is a blow.
“It's a shame. It's difficult because he's given us a great platform since he came in.
“He's competitive and he's done well when he's played,” he said
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