Cox calm ahead of season finale
11th April 2013
Manager Paul Cox wants supporters to ‘enjoy and embrace’ our final three games of the campaign as we bid to become Blue Square Bet Premier champions.
Our side jumped to the league summit with victory over Macclesfield Town in midweek and could be seal a return to the Football League this weekend.
Should our side emerge victorious from their difficult trip to Braintree Town and Kidderminster Harriers fail to beat Wrexham, our five-year stay in non-league football will be at an end.
Cox said: “After the game on Tuesday I was talking to some supporters about tension.
“I can’t really understand. I want everyone to enjoy the last week of the season. We’re in this game to enjoy it and to compete for a championship.
“With [our run in] the FA Cup it has been a fabulous season. I know the supporters are crying out for success and we’re trying hard to achieve that.
“We’ve had two good years and we want it to continue. We’re coming to an important period now, but one which we shouldn’t feel stressed about.”
Our boss continued: “It’ll be a tough [game] at Braintree. They’ll want the bragging rights and to finish the top of their league in terms of being part-time.
“Alan [Devonshire] has done a great job, and if you look at how many players have represented the England C side over the last 18 months, you see they have a good squad.
“But I don’t like to talk too much about the opposition. I want to make sure that we’re concentrating and focussed and go there with a strong mind-set.”
Cox, who scooped the ‘Manager of the Month’ award last month, has also admitted he isn’t duly concerned about how other results could affect our title chances.
“It’s an uncontrollable situation,” stated our boss.
“I don’t worry about things that I can’t control. All I want to make sure is that we’re focussed and spot on and give it our best shot to try and win the game at Braintree.
“After that, it doesn’t matter. In my head I’m focussed right until the end of the season and I want to win every game between now and then.
“There’s no doubt a few of the lads will be checking [the Wrexham versus Kidderminster result] on the internet and on their phones, etcetera, as it’s only human nature.
“It would be brilliant if a result went for us, but first and foremost we’ve got to win our game.”
Our clash at the Amlin Stadium on Saturday begins at 3.00pm.
Meanwhile, the Essex-based club have already announced that ALL supporters are welcome to watch Wrexham’s televised clash with Kidderminster in the clubhouse afterwards
Stags staying focused on title challenge at Braintree
Although a win for Stags at Braintree on Saturday (3pm), followed by a defeat for Kidderminster at Wrexham in the 5.15pm kick-off afterwards could see Mansfield Town crowned BSBP champions, manager Paul Cox will lead his players back onto the coach at Braintree and pay no attention to what is happening at the Racecourse Ground.
Suggestions that he and the team may sit and watch the Kidderminster game in Essex before coming home were quickly dismissed.
“I honestly believe Kidderminster will win their last two games so I want us to stay focused on our job which is to win all the three games we have left,” said Cox.
“What happens at Wrexham is an uncontrollable. I never worry about things that I can’t control. We must make sure our focus is spot-on for our game.
“No doubt some of the boys will be looking at it on their phones on the bus. I can’t stop that, it’s human nature.
“If someone tells me Kidderminster have lost, then brilliant, I will have a drink when I get back. But first and foremost we have to make sure we win our game.
“We will see where we are once we finished the season. If we are good enough to finish top, then great. If not we will give the play-offs a really good go.
“I know the supporters of this club are crying out for success after backing the club for years. We are working hard to try to give them that success.
“You don’t always get the time, but I work on three-year plans and right now we are probably a year ahead of schedule.
“I want everyone to enjoy this last week of the season, relax and give it our best shot.
“We are in this game to enjoy it and compete for championships. With that and the FA Cup run it has been a fabulous season. Now I hope we can put in a good performance and get a good result on Saturday.”
He added: “Knowing the guys at Braintree, there is always something to play for there. They have had a fabulous season and I will be travelling to Dartford tonight to see their local derby when they will want to finish as top of their own league, being part-timers.
“Alan (Devonshire) has done a great job down there, look how many England C internationals they have had over the last 18 months and you can see how many good players they have. It will be a tough one on Saturday.
“But we are looking hungry and full of energy. The season will be gone in the blink of an eye and, if we are not successful, then I want it to be because we were not good enough and not because we didn’t prepare right or didn’t put 100 per cent into a game.”
Tamworth loan was kickstart that Stags defender John Dempster needed
Published on 12/04/2013
John Dempster is now on the brink of a BSBP championship medal to crown a great campaign, but the big defender suffered a dreadful start to the season.
Injured and then unable to win regular place, he was sent out to Tamworth on loan, a move he feels kickstarted his campaign.
Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Braintree Town on a day Stags could win the title, he said: “I always knew I had a part to play this season.
“I made an agreement with the gaffer to go to Tamworth to get a bit of fitness and it worked out well for myself and, I hope, the team. I always knew it would be a short-term thing and it proved beneficial too everyone really.”
Dempster seemed to get the final touch to an Adam Murray free kick for Stags’ third goal at Barrow last weekend, but Lee Stevenson believes his flick from Adam Murray’s free kick was already over the line before Dempster made sure.
Dempster was credited with the goal, but admits: “It’s a tough one and I don’t think Stevo won’t be very happy.
“It was going in, but I wasn’t sure if there was a player behind me so I stuck it in on the line. I am not sure if it was over or not but if I am in the record books as the scorer I will take it and move on.
“I need it to try to catch up with Luke Jones. I think it would take me a couple of seasons to catch up with him.
“He is a great professional and gives his all for this club. He has also chipped in with quite a few important goals. He is great to play with. We are both honest players and we work together quite well.”
Stags may only need to beat Braintree on Saturday to win the title as Kidderminster would then have to beat Wrexham in the 5.15pm kick-off to keep the title race alive.
Then it would move ton to Hereford on Tuesday when, if Stags again fail to win, it could go down to the last day when Mansfield are at home to Wrexham.
Said Dempster: “It will be another tough game for us on Saturday. But Kidderminster are doing well and they have a good chance of winning that game. All we need to do is concentrate on our own results.
“All three remaining games will be tough Braintree and Hereford are still picking up points and won’t want to take their foot off the gas. They will want to finish with as many points as they can.”
Mansfield Town hotshot Matt Green hoping for a dream double
Mansfield Town striker Matt Green has one eye on the BSBP Golden Boot top scorer award.
But, ahead of Saturday’s massive game at Braintree Town on a day that Stags could win the league, the 23-goal hitman admits he would gladly swap that for a championship medal.
“The Golden Boot is something any young striker dreams of,” he said. “But the most important thing is promotion. If I could win the Boot and a championship medal, that would be a dream come true. But the championship medal is the most important.
“To be part of a title-winning side at this club would be a moment to remember.
“It would be a great achievement, more special because it’s with Mansfield Town. We were unlucky last season and, this season, I couldn’t have written the script any better. The club, the staff, the players, the fans, everyone deserves it.”
Green, who bagged 30 goals last season, added: “To get to the 20-goal mark is what any striker wants to achieve and it’s a weight off my shoulders. Now I will just try to get as many goals as I can in the three games left.
“It has been harder this season, but scoring goals makes me happy. The goals have been spread throughout the team this season, everyone chipping in together.”
Stags were rocked by last Thursday’s 2-1 at Wrexham, but quickly hit back to see off Barrow 4-0 and Macclesfield 3-1 to set up a possible title win on Saturday if Stags can beat Braintree and Wrexham beat Kidderminster.
Said Green: “Barrow and Macclesfield were massive games. Losing at Wrexham was a bit of a blessing in disguise looking back. It gave us a realisation of the position we were in.
“Barrow was a tough game to grind out a result after Wrexham. But it was good it came two days later as the feeling of defeat at Wrexham was fresh in our minds and we wanted to make it right. I thought we dealt with it professionally.”
Manager Paul Cox said he couldn’t praise Green highly enough.
“I have always believed in Matt, even when he has gone through sticky patches,” he said. “He is an honest boy and to work with him has been immense. I enjoy working with him and can’t give him enough praise.
“Matt epitomises what we are all about.
“So many times this season when he’s not scored, he has lost a bit of his smile and the glint in his eye and I have had to put an arm around him and tell him he has worked hard for the team.
“The other players appreciate his work ethic and how he puts his body on the line. He occupies back fours on his own and gives other people time to play.”
Latest | April 2013