OXFORD PREVIEW/SEVERAL CLUBS INTERESTED IN HOWELL
Cox video interview:
Marriott and Howell video interviews:
Cox discusses loan activity
mansfieldtown.net, 13th February 2014
Manager Paul Cox has revealed that some squad players will have to leave the club on loan, before we are able to make any new additions to our team.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/cox-discusses-loan-activity-1357458.aspx?#SYeuy7ujitdwlLVL.99
The window for loan deals opened last week and our boss is still on the search for a frontman to bolster our attacking options, but admits there is little activity happening at present.
Speaking at his pre-match press meeting ahead of Saturday’s game at Oxford United, he said: “We need to get one or a couple [of players] out, before we bring one in.
“There’s nothing happening yet, but we’re working hard in both directions and trying to free up [some funds].”
Asked if any players’ names have been circulated to other clubs, Cox added: “Yes, we have done. I’ve spoken to individuals and they have been told that they can go out on loan with a view to helping themselves out for a club for next season.
“[The lack of activity] is a little bit frustrating, but its football and I understand it. I’m not going to cry about it, we just have to get on with things.”
Our team make the journey to the Kassam Stadium on Saturday unbeaten in four away matches and with the best away record of all teams currently outside the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off zone.
However, we face a tough test as Oxford, who remain under the caretaker leadership of Mickey Lewis, have won their last two matches on home soil.
Our boss believes that the U’s are also capable of achieving automatic promotion this season.
He continued: “We’ve been to see Oxford and when we played them here, I thought we were a little bit unlucky.
“We had Jamie McGuire sent-off early on, but we gave a good account of ourselves, especially in the second half when with the chances that we had, we could have hauled it back to level terms.
“In the end, the extra man and that little bit of extra know-how probably cost us. I remember the boy [Dave] Kitson doing really well, but that’s what we’re up against at this level of football.
“They’re a good side with some good players and I think they’re a team that’ll be around the top three looking for automatic promotion come the end of the season.”
At present, the Sky Bet League Two table is so tight that only 10 points separate Newport County in eighth spot and Torquay United in 23rd position.
Talking about how close things are in the league, Cox said: “Every manager probably from eighth downwards will be looking to get to the 50 points mark as quickly as possible and I don’t think that we’re any different.
“It might go beyond or under [the 50 point mark] this year. There are certainly teams that are even in the league and its fine lines between winning, losing and drawing.
“It’s strange this season in that any team going up to eighth or ninth place could realistically get dragged into a relegation battle.”
“The top seven I think are nailed on and rightly so. I can’t see anybody realistically breaking into that top seven, as I think they are the best seven sides in this league.
“But for everyone else, it’s becoming a little bit like the Premier League. The rest of the sides are hoping to finish mid-table and to avoid getting sucked into a battle in the last four or five games.
Our boss added: “All I want us to do is to concentrate on our own controllable, which is our own games. We can’t do anything about any other team.”
A full interview with Paul Cox from this morning’s press meeting will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.
Stags boss still has hands tied over a loan striker
chad.co.uk, 13 February 2014
Despite defender George Pilkington going out to Macclesfield Town on loan this week, Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox has been told he still needs to get at least one more player out of the door before he can bring in his much-needed loan striker.
Cox was thwarted in his plans to bring in a striker during the January window when club chairman John Radford announced he was having to reduce the amount of money he puts into Mansfield Town from his One Call company.
The manager was then told he could bring in a striker when the loan window reopened, but he has now been told he needs to free up more money first.
“It is going to be a process of one in, one out,” he said. “I have been told we need to get one or two players out before we can bring one in at the minute so nothing is happening yet, though we are working hard in both directions, trying to free up a bit of money.
“I have circulated names and spoken to individual players and told them they can go out on loan with a view to helping themselves find a club for next season.
“It is a bit frustrating but I understand it. I am not going to cry about it. I just have to get on with it.
“The most important thing is the football club. If we have to cut out cloth accordingly then that’s what we will do.
“As long as I know where I am going then I can focus on the squad we have got and help to improve them. But I won’t backtrack on what I have said that a fresh face or two can sometime give a bit of a lift and a fresh impetus to a club.”
Confident Stags face huge task to extend unbeaten away run at Oxford
Mansfield Town take their new-found confidence to title-chasing Oxford United tomorrow aiming to extend an away run of two wins and two draws in their last four awaydays.
But Paul Cox and his side, who have only lost one in eight, know how hard it will be against an in-form U’s side with new manager Mickey Lewis still unbeaten since taking over and Oxford seven without defeat.
The U’s are third, four points off top spot and Cox said: “Teams up there deserve to be there and teams at the bottom deserve to be there. Consistency is the key.
“We were probably a bit unlucky at our place as Jamie McGuire was sent off early on. I thought we have a good account of ourselves in the second half and could have pulled back on level terms with the chances we had.
“Having said that, you look at their team and they have a player like Dave Kitson with 150 Premiership games. That’s what you are up against at this level.”
Stags’ home clash with Bury was postponed on Tuesday with Mansfield desperate to build on the momentum of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Southend, and he added: “The boys are in a bit of a mode at the moment and we wanted to play on Tuesday.
“But the pitch is probably the worst I have seen it since I’ve been here and half or even two thirds of it were underwater and we were never going to play on it.
“But the players have a bit of spring in their step, are working hard and look focused. Training is at a good tempo.
“We want to get to that 50 points mark as quickly as possible, though it may go beyond that this year as so many teams are even in this league with fine lines between winning, drawing and losing.
“It will be interesting in the last four or five games as it is so tight.
“I think the top seven are now nailed on, and rightly so. I can’t see anyone breaking into them.
“It’s becoming a bit like the Premier League. The rest of the sides are just hoping to finish mid-table to avoid getting sucked into the battle at the bottom.
“We just have to concentrate on our games as we can do nothing about other teams. It’s not about squads and money, it’s just about consistency.
“Everyone is looking for that 20 or 25-goal striker and I believe if we had a goalscorer in the Matt Green mould this year we would have won a hell of a lot more games.
“This season was always going to be a learning curve and we were never going to go straight through it, it is arrogant and condescending to the other clubs in this division to think we would.
“I do think we are going at the right speed. If you get promoted you want to do it with the right foundations. We have not got those at the moment.”
Cox said he wasn’t concerned about talk of possibly sharing One Call Stadium with Rotherham Titans Rugby Union Club next year, saying: “It is an uncontrollable and so not something I will worry about.
“I need to worry about making sure players fully focus on this season.
“You never know who will be around come next season. My concern is with the here and now and making sure we finish the season on a high.
“Next season is a million miles off.”
Pressure off for Mansfield tomorrow says Marriott
Stags keeper Alan Marriott said the pressure was off at Oxford United tomorrow as few will give Mansfield Town a prayer against the League Two title hopefuls.
But Stags are four unbeaten on the road and beat high-flying Southend 2-0 at home last weekend and Marriott said: “We have games coming up now against Oxford and Fleetwood and people don’t really give us a cat in hell’s chance. But we showed against Southend what we can do.
“As the away team we can relax more as the onus is on the other team to come at you and we are a good counter-attacking team so it suits us well.
“Our home form has not been great of late so it was great to beat a team as good as Southend. Conditions were horrendous, but that probably helped us a bit.
“We thought second half we would be up against a right storm. But we stood up and all over the pitch I thought we played some really good stuff at times.
“They are a fantastic team, but we showed how well we can play to take the points. Every one of our players turned in a 9/10 or 10/10 performance.
“If we get eight or nine players in the team playing at that level, we would be getting three points most weeks.
“The fans are massive for us. Footballers thrive on confidence and if your fans are cheering and right behind you when you are down there scrapping, it really pulls you through.
“The pressure was off us as everyone expected Southend to comfortably beat us. So were were able to relax and show what we could do.”
The only downside on the day for Mansfield was throwing away their clean sheet in stoppage time as United stole a consolation goal.
“I was fuming,” said Marriott. “I stormed off down the tunnel like a baby, kicking and screaming at everyone.
“It didn’t see it until late as it went through someone’s legs. I was disappointed as I am judged on clean sheets, so it hurts you.”
Howell ready for Oxford challenge
mansfieldtown.net, 13th February 2014
Midfielder Anthony Howell insists our team are ready to roll their sleeves up, as we look to keep up our good away form against Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/howell-ready-for-oxford-challenge-1357065.aspx?#psXOCFUKFWQzHJv7.99
Our team have accumulated 21 points on the road already this term, more than any side currently outside the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off zone.
Howell, who has made 25 appearances so far this season, believes we are capable of achieving another good result as we aim to climb the table.
“We’re all looking forward to the game,” said Howell. “We’re doing well away from home, so Oxford will be a good test.
“They’ve got good players and we’ll have to keep [Dave] Kitson under wraps, but we’ll go there with a game-plan and try and get some more points on the board.”
He continued: “[Against Southend] the conditions were bad, but we’ve got players who roll up their sleeves and that’s what we’re going to do again on Saturday.
“Even though we’re in a position where I don’t think we deserve to be [in the league table], we want to show Oxford that we’re a good team.”
Reflecting on last Saturday’s fantastic 2-1 victory over Southend, our first success on home soil in the New Year, the 27-year-old had praise for our supporters.
“[Our performance] showed the spirit that the lads have,” continued Howell.
“The fans were great too. There was a lot of noise from the stands even though they must have been freezing, because I was freezing and I was trying to run around.
“It shows that the lads are determined to get points on the board, whatever the case.”
On his own current form, the midfielder added: “Every week when the team-sheet gets read out and my name is on there, it’s a successful week, because I train hard just to get that place.
“I’m trying to get stuck in and I’m trying to keep my place in the side. Your place can go just like that, so I’m glad that I’ve been on a good run in the side and I’ll try and keep that going.”
A full interview will be available exclusively on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.
Fit Stags can finish the season strongly - Howell
Mansfield Town midfielder Anthony Howell believes the Stags have now overcome the culture shock of stepping back up to the Football League and can use their fitness to finish their season strongly.
Ahead of tomorrow’s tough trip to championship-chasing Oxford United, Howell said: “At the start of the season we obviously knew we were up against it. But we had nothing to lose.
“We passed the ball and got a few wins. Then the pressure caught up with us and we saw the top teams passed the ball better than we did which knocked us back.
“But we have come through that now and got used to the league now and we are pushing on to get more wins.
“It’s the last third of the season and a time when fitness shows. And we have got a fit bunch here who I think will pick up points. I think we’ve got fitter by chasing other teams!”
He added: “I am trying to get stuck in and keep my place in the side. I have good players around me who can move the ball and create things. I help them out by doing my job and they can then go and flourish and hopefully get some goals.
“The gaffer gives us a green light to play and the lads are taking it on board and trying to move the ball and not worry about making mistakes in areas.”
Stags have not lost any of their last four games on the road and Howell said: “We are looking forward to it tomorrow as we are doing well away.
“We know Oxford will be a real test and they have got Dave Kitson, who we will need to keep under wraps. We will go there with a game plan and try to put some points on the board.
“When conditions are bad we have players here who will roll up their sleeves and we are going to do that again on Saturday and show Oxford we are in a position we don’t deserve to be.
“Last weekend against Southend the lads showed their spirit and the fans were great. They made all that noise yet they must have been freezing in the stands. I was freezing and I was running round.”
Transfer news: Interest mounting in Mansfield midfielder Anthony Howell
Anthony Howell: Current contract is running down
Sky Sports understands that several clubs are interested in signing Mansfield Town midfielder Anthony Howell as a free agent.
The 27-year-old is due to become available at the end of the season when his contract expires.
A number of sides in Leagues One and Two are closely monitoring his situation and are jostling for position at the front of the queue.
The Nottingham-born box-to-box midfielder has been a consistent performer for the Stags of late, which has led to him becoming a firm fans' favourite.
He was an integral member of last year's side which won promotion back to the Football League, as well as playing a major part in Mansfield's recent FA Cup campaign.
Howell has scored three goals so far this season and his form will be pivotal in the final quarter of the campaign.
oufc.co.uk, 13th February 2014
Early team news as Oxford United welcome Mansfield Town in Sky Bet League 2
Read more at http://www.oufc.co.uk/news/article/00130214-mansfield-team-news-1357784.aspx#yyyjfxZVDBs4W43M.99
United will be boosted by the return of Alfie Potter as they welcome Mansfield Town to the Kassam Stadium in Sky Bet League 2 this Saturday.
Alfie made an unexpected return to the bench in last weekend’s draw at Bristol Rovers, the side he injured his ankle against back in November, but has taken part in training all week and will be involved once more as United welcome the Stags. He told us:
“It feels good to be back. I was pleased to be involved again last week. I could have come on if needed and after this week’s training sessions I feel pretty fit and would love to be involved in some way on Saturday, even if it is just from the bench again.
“It has been frustrating but we are in a great position now and I want to play a part in a successful run in this season.”
Mickey Lewis has plenty of attacking options with Ryan Williams fit again and able to train today. Deane Smalley, James Constable, David Connolly, Dave Kitson and Ty Marsh are all fit, while Mickey is hoping for one more attacking boost:
“It is always good to have those players to choose from and we are very optimistic that Sean Rigg will be available as well. We have options and a number of combinations we could use. Mansfield will be a tough game but we want to keep the decent run we are on going and try and keep things going.”
See Mickey, Alfie and former Mansfield defender Johnny Mullins previewing the game in Yellow Player where we have a fantastic Preview Show packed full with video extras.
Tickets are available for Saturday’s game on 01865 337533 and from http://www.oufctickets.co.uk
Latest | February 2014