FLEETWOOD PREVIEWS / NO PLAYERS GOING OUT
Cox: Club is building foundations
mansfieldtown.net, 20th February 2014
Manager Paul Cox says that the club are building foundations for a solid future.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/cox-club-is-building-foundations-1371696.aspx?#ldtQAdX9C0G1Oc03.99
Our boss, who was speaking at his meeting with the local media earlier today, also believes our youth set-up is blossoming and is just one part of our long-term future.
On the pitch, Cox will be hoping that his team can bounce back from last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Oxford United - our first away loss this year - when we host Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
“At the minute we’re having a trial with Pro Zone, who cover every stat, and we out-passed one of the best footballing teams in the division [at Oxford],” said Cox. “But that’s all ‘pie in the sky’ because the score-line said 3-0.
“What I’ve said to the lads is that the performance was good. We’re getting to somewhere like where I want us to be, but our defending for the first goal and the third goal was poor.
“If we’re going to play well and not score, we need to make sure we defend well and come away with a clean-sheet, and these are the learning curves.
“This is our first season back in league football and some of the players that we’re coming up against are wiley old characters.”
Our boss continued: “For this football club, we need to take a look at what’s needed and really sit down and plan accordingly to make sure that when we take the next step, it’s the right one.
“Being successful in football is not just about having 11 good players. It’s about making sure the infrastructure of the club, right the way through, is good.
“I’ve said before that as a whole football club, we’re learning, but that’s going to take time and people have to be patient. A lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes to stabilise this club in League Two initially, and then to push on.
“We’re working very hard on the youth set-up and looking at bringing them through to the reserves and ultimately the first team, the off-field stuff is coming along with the training ground, and these are little things that we’re catching up on.”
Cox added: “We need the whole club heading in the same direction and the right direction. We’ve got 15 cup finals ahead of us and everyone is working really hard to maintain our Football League status.”
When asked if he may blood some younger players in the coming few weeks, our boss said: “It’s a fine line, because I don’t want to put too much pressure on some of these young players.
“Some of the young kids have been playing for the reserves and some of them have been training in and around the first team and the way youth set-up is looking at the minute, we’ve got some excellent players coming up from the [Under 14s] upwards.
“We’ve also got a crop of 16 and 17 year-olds who I think are going to make this club very healthy in the future, but I’ve got the likes of Ollie Palmer who is 20, (Ryan) Tafazolli who is 22, already in the first team.
“What I don’t want to do is send [younger players] backwards by putting too much pressure on them.
“I’ve seen players with a lot of experience be in the position that we’re in, where anyone from 10th downwards is realistically in a relegation battle, and crumble a little bit.
“So we’ve got to look after the long-term effect of the kids. If I have to do it then I will, it’s not a problem, but you have to look after the kids’ welfare before others.”
Paul Cox’s full post-match interview will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.
Cox praises outgoing physio
mansfieldtown.net, 20th February 2014
Manager Paul Cox has nothing but praise for our outgoing physio Simon Murphy.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/cox-praises-outgoing-physio-1371444.aspx#AMk4BGQs1i0FXO4m.99
We revealed earlier this week that the 23-year-old had accepted the position of assistant first team physio at Championship leaders Leicester City.
“I’m a big fan of Simon Murphy and I always will be,” said our boss.
“He’s a top draw physio. He’s young, energetic, excellent at his job and deserves to progress. I think he’ll go on to even bigger and better things.
“The professionalism and the stuff he’s brought behind the scenes to the players is immense. I think Leicester City are getting an excellent acquisition and we’re losing a top boy.”
Cox added: “I think it’ll be hard to fill his shoes, because he’s not just been a good physio, he’s got a great personality and he’s good around the lads.”
Murphy’s last match with us will be our Sky Bet League Two away clash at Dagenham & Redbridge in nine days time.
Plan B as Stags try to bring in young players for free
chad.co.uk, 20 February 2014
Desperate for new signings, Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox today admitted the club were moving onto ‘Plan B’ and trying to get players in that would cost the Stags nothing.
Cox’s hopes of bringing in a striker have been hit by the need to get other players out to balance the club’s books financially.
Now, with two more injuries this week and just 19 fit players, he is hoping clubs from the higher levels will help out by giving him talented youngsters to blood, which would help them, their player and the Stags.
“For the last month we have been out watching numerous games and doing our homework on what we have called our Plan B if worst case scenario hit. So we can now move onto that,” said Cox.
“As we stand we have 19 fit players coming into Saturday’s game with Fleetwood so things have changed things a bit. There will be none going out.
“What we are going to have to is contact Premiership, Championship and League One clubs and try to get one or two in that would be costing the club nothing.
“We have nine games before the end of March and we don’t want to be left bare with injuries, suspensions and loss of form.
“We are working extremely hard to see if we can add to the squad, throughout the team if possible.
“But it has to be a scenario where the players coming in are not going to cost the club anything.”
He added: “I am not saying these players are worse than some of the others we were looking at. We just need a bit more depth to the squad and a bit of quality that will help see us through to the end.
“How many we get will depend on availability. We have made contact with a number of clubs and I have probably done more miles on the road than I have ever done.
“Ultimately, we need to add to what we have got. I am not too sure if we will get anyone for the weekend. But if someone does become available we have to move very, very quickly.”
His only other alternative would be to blood some of his own youth team players and Cox said: “Some of our youngsters are training with the first team and playing reserve games. But it is a fine line and I don’t want to put too much pressure on the youngsters.
“We are in a relegation battle and I have seen players with a bit of experience crumble in these situations. You have to look after the youngsters. But if if I have to do it then I will do it as I believe in one or two of these kids.”
Stags did cast an eye over Sunderland youngster Craig Lynch in a reserve game on Monday, but the 21-year-old has now signed for Stags’ League Two rivals Rochdale
“We knew Rochdale were in for him as well. It is just the situation we are in and we have got to deal with that,” said Cox.
“Rochdale offered him a deal and we were not in a position to do that on a contractual basis. We have to cut out cloth accordingly.”
Clubs target Howell, but no contract talks planned yet at Mansfield
chad.co.uk, 20 February 2014
Paul Cox will not be starting contract talks with players yet, despite stories that a number of clubs are preparing to step in and offer Mansfield Town midfielder Anthony Howell a deal once he becomes a free agent in the summer.
Howell has taken more than his fair share of criticism from supporters. But his hard work in midfield is well appreciated by his manager and team mates.
However, Cox said it was too soon to start looking at contracts and explained: “We have go to know where we are going and as a group of players they understand that.
“If I am honest I think Anthony has had a raw deal here sometimes, even though he helped us win a championship.
“Coming round the bend after Christmas, he has been consistent and he was excellent again on Saturday.
“At the end of the season it will be interesting to see how many other clubs ultimately come in for some of our players and if they want to stay.”
Crucial run of home games could boost Stags’ hopes
Mansfield Town begin a crucial spell of four home games in the next five tomorrow when they take on title-chasing Fleetwood Town at the One Call Stadium.
The Stags know that if they can gain some measure of consistency at home, they could end their relegation fears over a frantic spell of games which will see them play nine times before the end of March.
Fans will remember the heartache of Fleetwood’s stoppage time winner in that amazing game at Highbury Stadium back in November, which Stags lost 5-4.
Mansfield had no problems putting their chances away that day, but were guilty of being wasteful in last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat Fleetwood’s title rivals Oxford.
The Cod Army arrive with five wins and two draws in their last eight League games, and Mansfield manager Paul Cox said: “We need to put our chances away. It’s not rocket science.
“We are not playing badly and we have only lost two of our last nine games. For the next 15 games I would take results over performance.
“There are a lot of big clubs in this league, who have been around a lot longer than us and have a bit of extra know-how, who are in the same boat as us.
“While everyone is losing their heads, I have to keep mine. We are only seven points off ninth spot and to finish mid-table in our first season in this league would be an excellent achievement.
“My players have a spring in their step. We played well at Oxford last week though the result was poor. If we can play like that again on Saturday and get get a positive result, all bodes well.
“I am not one for sitting down and feeling sorry for myself. We have 15 cup finals left and we are working really hard to maintain our Football League status.”
He added: “We came up against some wily players last Saturday like Kitson, Constable and Connolly who are all goalscorers at this level and above. We need to take a look at what we need and plan accordingly to make sure the next step we take is the right step.
“Being successful is not just about 11 good players. It is about making sure the infrastructure throughout the club is good. We are learning and need to stabilise this club in League Two and then push on.
“We are working hard with the youth set-up and hoping to get the training ground done. There are plenty of things we are catching up on. That’s not an excuse.
“Sometimes you just have to take stock of where you are before you start to progress to the next level.”
Stags face making two enforced changes with defenders Martin Riley and James Jennings getting injured at Oxford.
Fleetwood midfielder Steven Schumacher missed out on their midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy semi-final exit against Chesterfield with five stitches in his ankle after a bad tackle against Northampton last weekend, but is desperate to return tomorrow.
Striker Jamille Matt should also be fit, despite taking an almighty challenge on the same ankle that had kept him out injured in recent weeks.
Strike partner Jon Parkin is currently hitting top form with two goals in his last three games.
Stevenson banking on busy spell to boost Stags
Mansfield Town midfielder Lee Stevenson believes the busy spell Stags are about to embark on is just what they need.
Mansfield have nine games ahead before the end of March with four of the next five at home - starting with tomorrow’s visit of high-flying Fleetwood Town - and said: “I think we have missed that this season - playing Saturday, Tuesday.
“Last season if we lost on a Saturday you would go out and batter a team on the Tuesday or if you won Saturday you couldn’t wait for Tuesday to come.
“It is something to look forward to and it’s what we get paid to do.
“We now need to try to bring our away performances into our home games as we are playing well away from home.”
Stags lost a breathtaking game 5-4 at Fleetwood in November and Stevenson said: “It was an amazing game - you only maybe get a couple of those in a year.
“If Anthony Howell hadn’t made his early mistake we could have been 2-0 up.”
Last weekend the Stags were wasteful in front of goal as they lost 3-0 at Oxford in a game they otherwise dominated and Stevenson said: “I don’t think I have played in a more one-sided three-niller to be honest. I should have scored at least one as should Sam Clucas. It was just one of those games really.
“But if we come back here on Saturday and win, everyone will forget about Oxford.
“Their keeper pulled off some good saves. All you can do is hit the target.
“You can always work on your finishing in training. I have got a lot of confidence in myself and my own ability. Give me chances and I am always going to be able to put them away - the posts don’t move. Scoring goals is my job and I should have scored on Saturday. I’ve not scored in the last three now, so I am due one.
“I am quite happy with my goalscoring ratio this season and I hope I can get into double figures.”
Stevenson is currently on six goals, but he knows he faces an uphill task to finish up top scorer with Clucas already on 12.
“It is a task for me. Take those four goals away that he scored at St Albans and I probably would,” said Stevenson.
“Sam is going to finish top scorer. He is our main goal threat. He is a good player and got us going when he came on against Wycombe. He wants to get on the ball and make things happen.”
Stevenson has had a couple of angry clashes with home supporters after being verbally abused following disappointing results this season, but says he has no regrets.
“The fans need to be our 12th man,” he said. “I have had a couple of run-ins, but it’s just a moment of passion.
“I don’t regret anything in my life. You just learn from things. You get up and get on with it.
“It just shows passion. Everyone here wants to win for the football club, for the manager and for ourselves to make sure we keep out shirts.”
McGuire ready for Fleetwood clash
mansfieldtown.net, 20th February 2014
Midfielder Jamie McGuire has stated that our players ‘don’t fear anyone’ at home, ahead of our Sky Bet League Two match against Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/mcguire-ready-for-fleetwood-clash-1372264.aspx#wXRL1PqRro480T5e.99
The 30-year-old, who could face his former employers for the first time since joining us from the Cod Army last summer, came on as a half-time substitute in our defeat at Oxford United five days ago.
“The mood in the camp is very good, but from the chances we had on Saturday, we just never put the ball in the net. It’s as simple as that,” said McGuire.
“They’ve got the strikers in (James) Constable, (Dave) Kitson and (David) Connolly. They put the ball in the net and we didn’t, but it’s just one of those things and we’ve got to move on now.”
He continued: “We don’t fear anyone at home now, and I think the result against Southend proved that. They’re in a Play-Off position and flying, but we beat them 2-1 and I thought we did well.
“Fleetwood are a big team and a powerful team. They’ve spent well with the players they brought in during the summer, and they’re in a good position in the league, so it’ll be a good game on Saturday.”
In the reverse fixture with the Fleetwood earlier this term, we slipped to an agonising 5-4 defeat courtesy of a stoppage-time spot-kick from Antoni Sarcevic.
McGuire hopes we can exact revenge on Saturday for what would be our first victory in eight attempts over the team from the Fylde coast.
“I remember the last match well,” added the tough-tackling midfielder. “I was there doing co-commentary for the radio and it was a crazy game.
“We scored four goals and not many teams have done that against Fleetwood. We made a few silly mistakes and they got their goals. If we’d cut them out we could have maybe won.
“So it makes for an interesting game this Saturday.”
A full interview with Jamie McGuire will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.
Striker worries for Fleetwood Town
by Rob Stocks, firstname.lastname@example.org
21 February 2014
Fleetwood Town could be struggling in the firepower department with two striker ruled out of action ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Mansfield.
David Ball has no chance of playing any part in Saturday’s away day at Mansfield - a scan revealing his ankle injury was more complex than initially thought.
And Jamille Matt is also out of the equation - having himself taken a knock to the ankle in Tuesday night’s win at Chesterfield.
Alexander revealed Matt’s injury was nothing to do with the broken bone which kept him out for nearly four months but was a concern for the club’s medical team.
“Jamille’s taken a hefty knock on his ankle.
“It’s not damaged his previous injury, it’s irrelevant to that.
“But it’s on the same ankle and we’re just having to look at it day by day.
“It’s only been 48 hours or so and sometimes you have to wait for the swelling to go down to see how bad it is.
“Hopefully it’s one which just keeps him out for a couple of days.”
Matt was forced to carry on playing, despite his pain in Tuesday’s heartbreaking victory, Fleetwood having run out of substitutes.
And, despite his limited movement he played a key part in Jon Parkin’s winner, flicking the ball on from Matty Hughes’ cross
“It summed him up,” said Alexander.
“He was desperate to stay on and played a part in the goal.
“Hopefully it didn’t damage his ankle any further but he’s shown real bravery, he was in some pain.”
Matt made his first start since the end of October on Tuesday night, filling the hole in the Fleetwood front line left by Ball, who last played against Chesterfield on February 4.
And there’s no end in sight to the striker’s injury-plagued season.
Alexander said: “Bally’s going to be out for another few games.
“We got bad news off a scan.
“That’s really unfortunate.
“It’s a weird injury and he’s gutted.
“He’s done great for us when he’s been fit.
“He’s had a couple of bad knocks and we’ll be without him again.”
Jon Parkin is once again likely to lead the line on Saturday, partnered by Sunderland loanee Mikael Mandron.
Better news comes the midfield where Steven Schumacher is making a solid recovery having had five stitches in an ankle wound, picked up in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Northampton Town.
He hasn’t trained this week and is unlikely to feature tomorrow but could return to training ahead of Tuesday’s game against Plymouth Argyle at Highbury.
Alexander said: “Schuey is closer it’s just a case of the swelling going down.
“As soon as he can manage the pain he’ll be fit to train and be a part of the team.”
Latest | February 2014