COX, CHAPMAN, MEIKLE, DARIJE KALEZIC REACTION
All smiles for Cox after dogged win
video interviews: Paul Cox, Adam Chapman and Lindon Meikle are speaking to Mark Stevenson
Manager Paul Cox was yet again in a delighted mood following our 4-1 thrashing of Stockport County at One Call Stadium this afternoon.
Midfielder Adam Chapman became our first player since Keith Cassells in August 1984, to net a hat-trick on his home debut as we romped to a comfortable win.
“Adam's just showed us a little glimpse of what he's about,” said Cox.
“He's only been training with us for about a week now and there's still more to come from him. But I don't want to single out individuals as it was a good team performance.
“At the moment, we've got a happy camp, but we've got a tough game on Tuesday now and that's what I'm looking at.”
Our boss continued: “We've still got some way and I'm happy with where we are. When the lads get into a mode, sometimes all you have to do as a manager is guide them in the right direction.
“We're not going to be brilliant every game, but my job is to keep raising the bar and keep players feet on the ground.
“There's a lot more to do, but the lads put in a really professional performance and I'm happy with it.”
We face promotion rivals Grimsby Town at One Call Stadium on Tuesday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Focus on next game only as Stags boss Paul Cox keeps his title-chasers' feet on the ground
Mansfield Town manager is keeping his high-flying players' feet on the ground as, after a seventh straight win, 4-1 over visitors Stockport today, they face a crucial spell of three games in eight days against title rivals.
Mansfield's 11th win in 12 games has moved them level on top with Wrexham and Kidderminster on 68 points, but they are third on goal difference.
Now they face Grimsby, Forest Green and Wrexham on the bounce with their hopes of a return to the Football League possibly resting on this high-pressure spell.
However, Cox said: “All I am looking at is the next one. We are just ticking another one off and, while we know it is a big game, it won't matter if we get beat as we then just move onto the next one.
“We must keep our feet on the ground and not get carried away. Being joint top means nothing. The table says we are third with 11 games left so we still have some way to go.
“If we carry on our form we have a good chance of winning games. But if we become a bit arrogant or take our foot off the pedal then we'll get beat. It's as simple as that.”
Today's hero was on-loan Oxford midfielder Adam Chapman, who marked his home debut with a hat-trick.
Cox said: “I thought that was a good professional team display by the lads today.
“Adam scored three quality goals, but I though we worked hard as a team. Today he gave us a little glimpse of what he is all about, but I don't want to single any individual out today.
“We have a very happy dressing room and the unity between the boys is excellent. The players are enjoying their football and the supporters seem to be enjoying it as well.”
Hatters boss Darije Kalezic said: “There was a difference in the quality between Mansfield and us – that's a fact.
“We expected big pressure coming here to Mansfield and we made simple faults in the first 20 minutes. After that we made a fight of it and we controlled the last 15 minutes of the first half and the beginning of the second half when we had three chances. But our shots lacked conviction.
“Of course everyone is worried about our position. We have a young squad and they need to learn to take responsibility on the field. You looked at the size of the Mansfield players compared with our young players and they were all about 6ft 5ins, even on the bench.”
New Stags star Adam Chapman savours his home debut hat-trick
On-loan Oxford midfielder Adam Chapman proudly clutched the match ball after bagging a home debut hat-trick in yesterday's 4-1 win over Stockport and smiled: “I have put the pressure on myself now.”
Chapman said: “That was not too bad a start was it? But I hope people don't expect a hat-trick every week. I just hope I can keep performing like today.
“I did say to Adam Murray before the game that I fancied I'd get a goal today which I don't normally do. But I didn't expect a hat-trick.
“Scoring more goals is always something I've wanted to do and I have worked at.
“I thought the home fans were brilliant today and kept us going all through the game.
“We didn't play that well in my first game on Wednesday, it was more of a dogged display. But today, particularly later in the game, I thought we passed the ball around and played some nice football.
“The players have all been brilliant here and have made me feel welcome, and it helps I already have a couple of pals here.”
Mansfield Town have the qualities needed to go up
HAT-TRICK hero Adam Chapman fired Mansfield Town to joint top of the Blue Square Bet Premier and then declared the Stags have all the qualities to follow it through and seal promotion to the Football League.
The midfielder won promotion with Oxford into League Two in 2010 and only joined Mansfield from the U's last Wednesday, making his debut in the win at Woking that day.
On Saturday he made a massive impact with a treble in the 4-1 win against Stockport County on home soil to make it 11 wins from 12 games.
And, after joining on loan, the 23-year-old is adamant that with other players to have already won promotion out of the Conference like Matt Green, Adam Murray and John Dempster, the Stags have enough quality and experience to see the job through.
Chapman said: "We all want to win the league. This squad definitely has the qualities.
"I have been promoted from this league a few years ago and I know what it takes. I look around and we are not far off what the Oxford squad had and it is definitely possible.
"I see the quality and the boys at the back were quality and looked solid. We do not look like conceding sloppy goals and the togetherness is brilliant as well.
"The hat-trick capped the week off nicely. Hopefully I can keep that going and it is something I have always wanted to work on, my finishing, firstly at Sheffield United and then at Oxford so I will see what I can do."
Mansfield entertain fellow title-chasers Grimsby tomorrow before promotion hopefuls Forest Green on Friday and leaders Wrexham next Tuesday.
Chapman added: "Once we get through these games we will know where we are at.
"We have to make sure we do not put too much pressure on ourselves and be confident."
Mansfield Town: Kick up the backside is helping Meikle
Nottingham Post Mar 12th, 2013
LINDON Meikle believes he was given the kick up the backside he needed for his hunger to return in a Mansfield Town shirt.
And now the lively winger is ready to torment the Stags' promotion rivals and help the club seal the Blue Square Bet Premier title and with it promotion.
The 24-year-old followed manager Paul Cox from Eastwood Town to the One Call Stadium in the summer of 2011 and was a star turn as he helped his new club to third only to suffer play-off heartache.
He has featured heavily this season but at the start of the year his form dipped and by his own admission, he was suffering a confidence crisis.
Since being substituted at half-time in the 5-0 win over Dartford at the start of February, he had to settle for the bench in the next eight games and impressed when coming on, scoring a last-minute winner at Luton.
But an injury to Louis Briscoe led to a recall to the starting line-up on Saturday and Meikle looked like his old self as he played a hand in three goals as Stags won 4-1 against Stockport to move joint top.
Now they face a massive game against promotion rivals Grimsby Town tomorrow night at home, before a trip to sixth-placed Forest Green on Friday and then leaders Wrexham next Tuesday night.
And Meikle hopes to play a major part in cementing their place at the top.
He said: "My confidence levels are creeping back up. Being out of the team has given me the hunger back because I suppose I lost that.
"It just happened and maybe I got complacent playing week in and week out and thought I was not going to get dropped. Maybe that is what I needed – a good kick up the backside. I have been working hard and hopefully now there is a lot more to come.
"I have to build my confidence but I want to play a massive part in these next three games and play a big part in helping us go up.
"I just wanted to work as hard as I could and an opportunity opened up, I just had to take it.
"Louis has had problems with his glute which is unfortunate for him but gave me a chance. Hopefully I have taken that."
Victory at the weekend was a seventh successive win for the Stags, who have won 11 of their last 12 league matches to climb the table.
But the run of form is no surprise to Meikle, whose side sit third only on goal difference to leaders Wrexham and second-placed Kidderminster, both of whom they have games in hand on.
Meikle added: "Earlier in the season there was something not clicking but that happened last season. We kicked on then and we have kicked on now and a few weeks ago we were ninth, now we are right up there.
"I always said stick by the gaffer and he is proving himself again, we are proving ourselves again and we have to keep going right until the end and you never know, we might win it. But we have to win all our games, Grimsby first.
"Every game is make or break I suppose, that's how we have to approach it. I think it will go down to the last game of the season but all I have is my eye on the next game – Grimsby. We have to beat them and see where that takes us."
Kalezic: Stags were too strong but we paid for errors
While the Hatters' boss acknowledged his side were second best, he also bemoaned errors which made it easier for the home side
Hatters' boss Darije Kalezic ruefully admitted it was men against boys as his players were swept aside at the One Call Stadium.
Adam Chapman's hat-trick and Matt Green's second-half effort bettered Paul Marshall's stunner, leaving County with only two points from 18.
That left them 19th in the table, three points off the bottom four going into Tuesday's game at Barrow.
While Kalezic acknowledged his side were second best, he also bemoaned errors which made it easier for the home side.
“We know Mansfield are miles and miles away from us and there's no shame about that,” he said.
“However, we told them not to make simple mistakes in the first 20 minutes because we expected big pressure.
“But, again, that happened in the game after what we'd said in the changing room.
“That's a concern but we have to be patient with this young squad; we say the same things and have to hope that the players get it and learn from it.”
Kalezic's disappointment was plain to see, not least with his use of substitutions.
Matt Mainwaring didn't make it past the opening half-hour, Adnan Cirak was hooked at half-time and Johan Hammar was replaced on the hour with County having gone three down.
Nevertheless, County had their chances at 2-0 down, not least when Danny Whitehead spurned two opportunities and left Kalezic bemoaning a lack of conviction in front of goal.
“Second half, we changed the system, moved Jon Macken inside and put everyone man for man to make it clear who they were against,” he said.
“After the first change we controlled the last 15 minutes of the first half and began the second half well.
“We created three good chances to score a minimum of two of goals but we didn't score any of them.”
Latest | March 2013