COX: AIM FOR THE STARS
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox tries to keep a lid on new bubbling expectations for his in-form side
chad.co.uk, by Stephen Thirkill, 01 October 2013
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox this week tried to keep a lid on the new bubbling expectations after a superb 1-0 local derby away win at unbeaten leaders Chesterfield shot his newly-promoted side into third place in League Two last weekend.
That made it eight games unbeaten and already some supporters are starting to whisper about a second successive promotion.
Yet, while trying to point how it is still early days and how many other quality sides they still have to face, Cox is still telling his players to aim for the stars.
He said: “We are in the top three after nine games so we are more or less just under a quarter of the way through the season. The biggest question is where we are come Christmas.
“I have always said that if we are in a position to challenge at that stage then I would always back my players to finish really well coming round the bend. But there is a lot of football between now and then. All I can do is keep raising the bar.
“I never like to finish second and I am my own biggest critic. But I have had to use my head this season and not my heart. My heart always wants to finish first.
“I know there are some very good teams in this division. We are building as a football club and putting in strong foundations.”
He added: “Sometimes you have to walk before you can run. But you also have to aim for the stars as we want to finish as high as we can.
“We have raised expectations. But that is good for me as it keeps me on my toes and makes me work harder. That gets passed down to staff.
“I don’t want players to rest on their laurels. I have to make sure I watch out for any chinks in the armour. But we have a good down-to-earth group of lads and team spirit is excellent.
“I just have to make sure that none of my players suddenly think they have arrived and don’t have to do what they did in previous games.”
Almost 2,000 Stags fans enjoyed a first win over the old enemy at the Proact Stadium on Saturday.
But Cox stressed now that his side must forget that and concentrate on the potential threat of Saturday’s struggling visitors Hartlepool United (3pm).
“Saturday was a good day, but people who know me know I don’t go overboard with stuff,” he said.
“It was a good team effort on the day from the whole club. The supporters were excellent and the players worked tremendously hard.
“But it’s all over now and forgotten. I don’t want to keep thinking about it as we have a massive game ahead this Saturday and all the hard work last Saturday will have been for nothing if we don’t carry it forward now.”
Saturday’s visitors Hartlepool may have only won once all season and sit three from the bottom, but they have just managed three successive away draws.
However, they come up against an in-form Stags side desperate to keep their fine home record of only one defeat in the calendar year going.
“We are trying to make One Call Stadium a fortress and support there has been immense,” said Cox.
“It is quite an impressive record. But records are there to be broken and I will challenge my players to keep that run going.
Hot on the heels of that will be a quick return battle with Chesterfield in the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy second round at the One Call Stadium on Tuesday night (7.45pm).
Latest | October 2013