MARSDEN & THOMAS SET FOR DEBUTS
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Liam Marsden @LiamMarsden94
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Paul Cox video interview, 8th April 2014 morning
Marsden and Thomas set for debuts
mansfieldtown.net, 8th April 2014 morning
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox has revealed that youngsters Liam Marsden and Jack Thomas will make their Football League debuts before the end of this season.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/marsden-and-thomas-set-for-debuts-1475295.aspx#Z1BUdzb5cK2k6km2.99
The duo were both awarded professional contracts last summer and have produced several consistent displays at reserve and youth level this term.
Thomas has skippered our youth team to the higher echelons of the FCYA (Midland Division), whilst Marsden has impressed regularly in his role at right-back.
“We’ve had the two of them in the [matchday] squad and both are getting a little bit closer,” said Cox.
“I’ve got to be respectful to all the players and the fans and make sure that we’re putting out what I feel is the best team, whilst we’re not mathematically certain [to avoid relegation] and win as many games as possible.
“But they will, before the season finishes, make their debuts.”
Our boss continued: “I think Thomas has just come on ‘leaps and bounds’. He’s played in the majority of reserve games and is getting better all the time.
“He’s got a little bit of everything. He can put his foot in, pass the ball, get from box-to-box and can score a goal. With him only being 17, he’s got a good future ahead of him if he carries on learning and listening.
“For me, Marsden has been a model of consistency throughout the season. Both of them are going to thoroughly deserve their chance when they get it and I hope they grab it with both hands.”
Our manager believes our academy set-up is constantly making good progress, which was highlighted last Saturday when our Under 16s team won the Nottinghamshire Challenge Shield.
“The infrastructure of the club is improving all the time and on the footballing side I think we’re really going places as from the [Under] 14s, 15s and 16s to the kids coming through, we’ve got some good players,” said Cox.
“We’ve got a number of players in the youth team at this minute that, as well as the two, I may throw in before the end of the season, because I think they’ve made great strides.”
He added: “There are a lot of people who are working extremely hard behind-the-scenes to try and create a better future for this football club.
“The plus part is we’ve got a lot of local lads who I think are going to be coming through in the next 18 months. For me, it doesn’t matter how old someone is - if they’re good enough, they’re in the side.”
Meanwhile, our boss has revealed that the club are still assessing the extent of the injury to Lee Beevers, who dislocated his shoulder in the early stages of Saturday’s victory at Morecambe.
“’Beevs’ has run through a brick wall for the club over the last 18 months. Hopefully, we can get to the end of the season and get him looked at properly,” said Cox.
“There’s a little it of swelling that still needs to settle down and I think he’s being scanned today.
“But we’ve got to do what’s right for him. If that means he needs an early operation then so be it. If he thinks he can soldier on until the end of the season, then we’ll pat him on the back and thank him for that.”
Paul Cox's full interview will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.
Hutchinson could return next week
mansfieldtown.net, 8th April 2014
Mansfield Town forward Ben Hutchinson could return to action in next week’s Sky Bet League Two clash away to Accrington Stanley.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/hutchinson-could-return-next-week-1475508.aspx#qpfq7LxVIwcjjOMe.99
The 26-year-old, who was expected to be ruled out for the rest of the season, is making good progress in his recovery from a persistent hamstring problem.
Hutchinson last featured in our home victory over Newport County last month and has scored two goals this term - including a spectacular effort in our 2-2 draw with Portsmouth in August.
Manager Paul Cox revealed the good news at his press meeting earlier today.
He said: “The good news is that ‘Hutch’ might be available for [the game against] Accrington which is massive news for us. He’s made a great recovery.”
Hutchinson has featured on 47 occasions, scoring seven goals, since joining us from Kilmarnock in January 2012.
A full interview with manager Paul Cox will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.
Massive test for Stags in their landmark 5,000th game
Mansfield Town face the biggest test of their recent new-found consistency when League Two leaders Rochdale visit One Call Stadium on Saturday (3.07pm) for what will be the Stags’ landmark 5,000th competitive game.
Mansfield have just reeled off three successive victories for the first time since September and, while now looking safe from relegation worries, could still yet shock everyone by sneaking into the play-offs, chasing down a seven-point gap with five games to go.
The Stags were given a footballing lesson in the 3-0 Boxing Day surrender at Rochdale, but manager Paul Cox said: “We are in a different place mentally from last time we played them and I hope we can give ourselves a good account of ourselves on Saturday.
“They are the team you look at to gauge where you are. Rochdale are a fabulous side that look like they will get promoted this season.
“But our mindset must be that we concentrate on ourselves and see if we can take the game to Rochdale and try to impose ourselves. It will be a good test for us.
“You have to give them credit for their consistency as they have been up there all season. That’s what I am looking for from my group of players. Consistent results have been in abundance this season for clubs like Rochdale, Scunthorpe and Chesterfield.
“This is a massive learning curve for us this season and we have to make sure we are learning.”
Not including games expunged, Saturday represents the 5,000th game for the club since they kicked off life in 1897 as the Mansfield Wesleyans.
James Jennings is available again after a two-game ban, though Anthony Howell misses out as he serves his second and final game suspended.
Lee Beevers will also be given as long as possible before a decision is made on him after his problem shoulder popped out its socket again early in Saturday’s stormy 1-0 win at Morecambe.
But Ben Hutchinson is also making a faster-than-expected recovery from a hamstring injury expected to rule him out for the season and could be back for the Good Friday game at Accrington Stanley next week.
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