COBBLERS PREVIEWS/WILDER ON STAGS PLIGHT
Cox: More twists and turns to come
mansfieldtown.net, 13th March 2014
Manager Paul Cox insists there will still be plenty more twists and turns as a number of clubs continue to battle for survival in Sky Bet League Two.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/cox-more-twists-and-turns-to-come-1418560.aspx#C9oQTMgfUzKMDTuj.99
The latest round of results saw us slip to 18th position after a 1-0 home defeat to York City on Tuesday.
Northampton Town, our opponents this weekend, boosted their survival hopes with a vital 1-0 win at Exeter City, which extended their unbeaten streak to five matches.
Looking ahead to the match at the Sixfields Stadium, Cox said: “They’ve bolstered their squad and brought in six or seven fresh faces, proven goalscorers, and it’s upped the ante a little bit for them.
“But they’re all big games and just because we lost on Tuesday night, it doesn’t change anything.
“I know the mindset around us seems to change from game-to-game, but I’ve always maintained that the table will change so many times between now and the end of the season.
“We know what we’ve got to do. There are an awful lot of teams in the same boat and everyone will be biting and scratching to try and get those points on the table as quickly as possible.”
He added: “Saturday’s game is a big game, but we’ve got nine others after that and I’ve always maintained that becoming safe isn’t going to be done overnight.
“Both the boys and myself know what’s needed and we’ll continuously plan and prepare well to try and get those points on the board.”
Meanwhile, our boss also shared his final thoughts on last Tuesday’s match, which saw York return north will maximum points courtesy of Ryan Bowman’s debatable penalty.
“There’s still a bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouths,” said Cox. “I’ve watched the DVD back a couple of times now and to say some of the decisions raised a few eyebrows is an understatement.
“But in the last third I still maintain that we could have been a little bit ‘braver’ and had more quality about us.”
He continued: “I thought we played on the front-foot, especially in the second half, and there was only one team that was ever going to go on and win it.
“I can’t fault the boys’ work-ethic. I thought they worked extremely hard and really went to try and win the game, but we just need that end product - that final ball or that final tap-in.
“It’s going to be such a tight run-in now. Everyone has got so much to play for and with 10 games still left to play, I think there’s going to be some twists and turns before the end of the season.”
In injury news, full-back Darryl Westlake didn’t tear his hamstring in Tuesday’s clash, as was initially feared, and could be in the squad for the trip to the Sixfields Stadium.
Nevertheless, team-mate Ritchie Sutton is still sidelined due to a hamstring injury.
A full interview with Paul Cox is now available on Stags Player. To subscribe, click here.
No tear for Westlake
mansfieldtown.net, 13th March 2014
Manager Paul Cox has confirmed that full-back Darryl Westlake didn’t tear his hamstring in our match against York City at One Call Stadium on Tuesday.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/no-tear-for-westlake-1417848.aspx?#4OMAHFGyTmZSt351.99
The 23-year-old, who is on loan with us from Sheffield United until the end of the season, limped off in the 29th minute of the 1-0 defeat with a suspected hamstring tear.
However, scans have revealed that the injury isn’t as bad as first feared.
“We’ve caught it [early] and there’s no tear or pull. It’s just a really tight hamstring at the minute,” said our boss.
“Hopefully, we’ll have two days working with him and we’ll do some specialised sessions to try and get him right for Saturday‘s match at Northampton.”
A full interview with Paul Cox will be on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.
Cox staying cool as Stags begin final 10-game countown with Cobblers six-pointer
chad.co.uk, 13 March 2014
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox is keeping a cool, clear head and maintaining Saturday’s game at relegation rivals Northampton is no bigger than the following nine games as the Stags scrap for survival.
The Cobblers, beaten 3-0 at One Call Stadium in September, were adrift at the bottom and looked a hopeless case at one stage.
But boss Chris Wilder quit title-chasing Oxford to go in and try to save them, and five unbeaten games have now hauled them to within three points of safety and only five points behind the Stags.
“It is a big game, but they are all big games now,” said Cox.
“We have nine big games to come after it. Losing on Tuesday changed nothing. I have always maintained that becoming safe won’t just happen overnight.
“It is going to be such a tight run-in with only 10 points separating second from bottom to eighth. Everyone has everything to play for.
“Northampton have brought in six or seven players to bolster the squad. Among those are goalscorers, which ups the ante a bit for them. You know if you have goalscorers you are capable of winning games.
“I know some mindsets around here seem to change from game to game. But that table is going to change so many times between now and the end of the season. It’s all about consistency. Putting two or three good results together is the key.
“Everyone is biting and scratching to get points on the table as quickly as possible.
“There are a lot of big clubs in there. Look at Portsmouth. They average crowds of about 15,500 yet they are no better than us right now in any stats.”
He added: “We may see a bit of difference in the table come the end of March when we sees who makes a push and who drops into the zone. You don’t want to be in the bottom two with three games left as it would be very hard to get out of.
“The boys know what is needed. We have just got to start punishing teams and put our chances away. We need more of a cool head and to stop snatching at things.
“It’s now all about keeping a cool, calm head. We need to stay focused.
“I always prepare for the worst case scenario and we are ready for the season to go right down to the wire.”
Cox knows he will be coming up against striker Emile Sinclair on Saturday, having almost signed him in January only to be told there was no money available at the last minute.
But Cox said: “It’s happened, it’s gone and it’s over. I won’t cry over spilt milk. We know the situation with the club and what is in front of us.”
Stags will be without the injured Ritchie Sutton, though there is a chance that Darryl Westlake, who went off injured against York on Tuesday, could yet still make it.
“I think we’ve caught it well with Darryl,” he said. “There is no tear or pull, just a really tight hamstring. We will do some special sessions with him this week to try to get him right for Saturday.
“But Ritchie will be two and a half weeks as it is a pulled hamstring which is something we didn’t need right now. All we can do is get on with it.”
Stags are expected to take up to 900 fans to Sixfields which should make for a great atmosphere.
The Cobblers, who have taken 14 points from their last seven games, will welcome midfielder Ricky Ravenhill back after a one game ban.
Cox has looked back at the DVD of the 1-0 home defeat by York on Tuesday in which referee Darren Drysdale made a string of contentious decisions against Mansfield and has not changed his mind about the official’s performance.
“It left a bitter taste in people’s mouths,” he said. “I have watched the DVD a couple of times now and to say some of the decisions raised a few eyebrows is an understatement.
“There were two clear penalties we should have had. The penalty they scored was not a penalty and I don’t think their second one was a penalty either.
“But it wasn’t just about the referee. I think we could have been a bit braver in the last third and shown a bit more quality.
“We were on the front foot in the second half and looked like the only team who would go on and win it. We just needed that bit extra in the final third.”
Away support could be key - Dempster
mansfieldtown.net, 13th March 2014
Defender also keen to move on from Tuesday's defeat to York.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/away-support-could-be-key-dempster-1418137.aspx#E8Gq0TRJptmvvDts.99
Defender John Dempster insists our excellent support on the road could play a big part in how we fare in our five remaining away matches this season, starting at relegation-threatened Northampton Town on Saturday.
Our team are set to be backed by yet another sizeable following at the Sixfields Stadium, and will be seeking to maintain their impressive away form.
We haven’t lost to a team currently outside the Play-Off positions on away territory this term, and a win this weekend will move us eight points clear of the drop zone.
“The fans have been brilliant all season, especially away from home, and long may that continue,” said Dempster. “They’ve been part of our decent away form and I think they’ll play a massive part for us between now and the end of the season.
On the match itself, he continued: “It’s a big game and we’ve got a lot of big games coming up.
“Northampton are one of the in-form teams. They’ve got a new manager who has gone there and done a great job already to give them a chance of getting out of [the relegation zone].
“But we’re confident in our own form. We’re a decent side away from home, so it should be a good contest.”
The 31-year-old centre-back is keen for us to move on from Tuesday’s controversial 1-0 defeat to high-flying York City at One Call Stadium.
Ryan Bowman’s penalty on the half-hour mark gave the Minstermen maximum points, and Dempster added: “I didn’t think it was at the time and having seen it back, I still don’t think it’s a penalty.
“There was slight contact. I was round the other side of the player and he could have just carried on running - it was a nothing incident.
“You see incidents like that happen all the time and usually the referee waves play on, especially when the York players weren’t putting him under any pressure by appealing for it.
“It went against us, but that’s football sometimes, and we’ve got to move on quickly.”
Nasty Stags can tough it out, says Jennings
James Jennings believes Mansfield Town’s nasty streak can help them stay in the Football League.
Ahead of tomorrow’s tough trip to relegation rivals Northampton Town, the defender said: “We need to get back to being solid and hard to beat.
“We have not been nice. We are being nasty and hard to play against. We are relentless from the first whistle to the end of the game. Teams don’t like playing against us because of our nature and the way we play.”
Jennings made his return from injury in Tuesday night’s home defeat by York and said: “It was quite frustrating as I was enjoying it before the injury.
“I was playing well and contributing to the team as much as I could.
“I was playing more consistently and now I need to try to get back to playing at that level.
“I was only out for three weeks instead of the six the physio said I would miss at first.
“It was tough on Tuesday and I was just trying to get my second wind. It is difficult playing that left wing back spot, but I have played it enough times to be experienced there now.
“The lads all dug in and put a good shift in. I thought we played well in spells. We just needed that goal. We got a lot of crosses into the box, it was just that final product.”
On the string of decisions by referee Darren Drysdale that proved so costly to Mansfield, he added: “I have got to be careful what I say, but is is so frustrating. You prepare so hard yet it can all be ruined by a decision.”
Jennings is under no illusions how important it is that Stags do not lose at Northampton
“This is a massive game - one of the biggest games of the season,” he said.
“It is like the game with Wrexham last season at an important time. It is crucial we don’t come away with nothing.
“We have to go there with the right mindset and it would be great to get all three points.
“It is a very strange league. It is so tight between the play-offs and relegation. We just want to get as many points as we can and get away from that relegation zone.”
WILDER RARING TO GO FOR STAGS CLASH
by Gareth Willsher
Read more at http://www.ntfc.co.uk/news/article/cw-premansfieldh1314-1403952.aspx#vOQBq1BS2jBCV6DG.99
The Cobblers boss ahead of Northampton Town v Mansfield Town
Cobblers boss Chris Wilder previews Saturday’s Sky Bet League 2 home clash against Mansfield Town.
“We are really looking forward to it because it’s the next game and we are in good nick,” he said.
“It’ll be a tough game, they’ve had some good results and we will have to compete and play well again to overcome a tough stubborn side.
“The lads here have been playing pressure football for a long time and they have been top drawer.
“I had to get in to them for the first time on Tuesday night but the reaction we got from them in the second half was excellent.
“We always felt there was going to be a period where we didn’t maintain the standards that we’ve set but they responded in the right way and their attitude has been first class.”
Cobblers boss Wilder: Mansfield won’t want to be one-season wonders
by Jefferson Lake, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cobblers Chris Wilder feels Saturday’s opponents Mansfield will be doing everything in their power to avoid being a one-season Football League wonder.
Wilder knows all about the pressure of being among the 92 after a non-league promotion, having taken Oxford United back up in 2010.
As things stand, Mansfield are currently 18th in Sky Bet League Two and with the cushion of a five-point gap between themselves and Northampton in the final relegation place.
But a Town victory would close that to just two points and from a game fewer than the Stags have played.
“We should be really looking forward to this one, not just because it’s our next game but because we’re in good nick,” he said.
“The players have been performing well under pressure for a little while and this is a game that we’re looking forward to.
“They (Mansfield) will be desperate to get the results that keep them in the league and we’ve known for a while that we’ve needed to get on a run.
“It will be a tough game and it won’t be for the faint-hearted, we have to make sure that we compete.”
Oxford returned to the Football League through the play-offs and finished 12th in their first season back at that level, but it was not a campaign without its setbacks.
Wilder fully empathises with Mansfield boss Paul Cox, who has been heavily criticised by some of the club’s supporters, and knows how difficult his situation is.
“They are a stubborn side who did extremely well at the start of the season,” he said.
“When you have a good start like that and then results don’t start going for you, then a little bit of anxiety starts to creep in.
“That happened to me when I was at Oxford and it was our first season back in the league, we had a bit of a dip around Christmas time and we had to sign some more experienced players.”
Ravenhill returns to Cobblers squad for Stags’ visit to Sixfields
by Jefferson Lake, email@example.com, 13 March 2014
Ricky Ravenhill will be restored to the Cobblers’ matchday squad for their game against Mansfield Town on Saturday (3pm ko) after serving a one-game suspension.
The midfielder was banned for the 1-0 midweek win at Exeter City after being sent off in the previous fixture, a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe United.
Joe Widdowson is continuing his rehabilitation from an ankle injury and is not expected to rejoin the main squad at this stage.
“The sooner Joe gets back the better for us it will be because he’s an experienced player,” said manager Chris Wilder. “He’s progressing.”
Wilder will be without four players, none of whom are expected to be fit again this season.
Kelvin Langmead (knee), Alex Nicholls (broken leg), Lewis Hornby (back) and Lee Collins (foot) are all unlikely to play again during the current campaign.
Wilder does have some decisions to make in terms of his starting line-up, with Ravenhill available again after Gary Deegan’s shift in central midfield during the win on Tuesday night.
“They’ve all contributed and I’m sure there will be some disappointed people when I tell them what the side is,” he said.
“A couple of the lads who started on Saturday were unlucky not to be selected for the match at Exeter and it’s about how they respond.
“I won’t have any sulkers, it’s not about individuals just like it’s not about me, or Alan (Knill) or the chairman or anyone.
“It’s all about the group and the team - I’ve got a spare tennis racket if any of them want to go and play an individual sport.”
CRISTIAN LOPEZ JOINS NORTHAMPTON TOWN
ntfc.co.uk, 15:30 14th March 2014
by Gareth Willsher
Cobblers bring in Huddersfield striker on loan
Read more at http://www.ntfc.co.uk/news/article/lopez-signs-1420404.aspx#FbF3D6G53oSCPuP0.99
Northampton Town have signed Huddersfield Town striker Cristian Lopez on loan for the rest of the season.
The 24 year old, 6ft 1in striker arrived in English football in July 2013 after spells with Real Madrid B and Valencia B as well as CD Atlético Baleares.
In October 2013 he had a loan spell with Shrewsbury Town, scoring once in 5 appearances before being recalled by his parent club.
Latest | March 2014