POMPEY PREVIEWS / EVTIMOV ON INJURY LIST
Boss gets tough on players ahead of Pompey trip
mansfieldtown.net, 9th October 2014
Squad put through paces as Cox goes back to basics in training.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/boss-gets-tough-on-players-ahead-of-pompey-trip-2007278.aspx#FgqmReqqKplm9YLc.99
Manager Paul Cox says he has been tougher on his players during training sessions this week ahead of Saturday’s trip to mid-table Portsmouth.
Our team head to Fratton Park occupying 15th position in the Sky Bet League Two table, having accumulated 15 points from 11 matches so far this term.
“It really has [been back to basics]. I’ve been really impressed with the way that the boys have responded as the sessions have been tough and there hasn’t been an inch given,” said Cox.
“When you lose a game, you question it, but I thought our first half performance [last Saturday, against Accrington Stanley] was unacceptable for this football club. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I just sat there and shrugged my shoulders.”
Despite being well-fancied by bookmakers to be in the hunt for promotion, Saturday’s opponents have experienced something of an indifferent start to the season.
Under manager Andy Awford, Pompey have won four, drawn four and lost three of their first 11 matches and currently find themselves in 9th position in the division.
Our boss continued: “A numbers of years ago they were in the Premier League and winning the FA Cup. It’s still a massive club with a massive fan base and amazing resources.
“But it’s a football match and we want to go there and try and put the first half against Accrington behind us, because it wasn’t us and won’t be tolerated at this club.
“The lads have got to go there, be positive, be resolute and come away with a positive result.”
We head to the South Coast short on numbers following the news that Ryan Tafazolli will be sidelined for up to four weeks with a hamstring injury, whilst John Dempster requires an operation due to a groin problem which will sideline him until Christmas.
Skipper Adam Murray is also ruled out of action until our match at York City later this month, following an unsuccessful appeal against the red card that he received in our last match.
“This is the situation that we’re in and we’ve just got to get on with it,” said Cox. “The team more or less picks itself for Saturday, as I think we’ve got 16 fit players at the minute.
“We’re hoping that we can move into the loan market, even if it’s just for a month, to get a body or two in, but if not then we’ll soldier on.”
Two trialists were fielded at centre-back in a reserve team game at Huddersfield Town on Monday, but our manager insists that although they performed well, neither of them will be joining us in the immediate future.
He added: “Both of them were young players and did exceptionally well against a good Huddersfield side, but they’re not ready yet for League Two.
“We’ll still keep our eye on both players though, because they have bags of potential.”
Paul Cox’s full interview from today's press meeting is now available on Stags Player. To subscribe, click here.
Cox hoping on loan defender for Pompey trip
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox is still hoping he may get permission to bring in a centre half on loan for a month before injury-ravaged Stags head off to Portsmouth tomorrow morning.
Cox has 15 fit players right now, 16 if Rob Taylor is declared well enough to join the squad to play in the cauldron of Fratton Park on Saturday.
His list of unavailable players grew this week with a three-game ban for skipper Adam Murray and a torn hamstring for outstanding centre half Ryan Tafazolli, which left him without three of his five central defenders.
Said Cox: “It’s just the situation we are in and we have to get on with it. It’s no use crying over spilt milk.
“The team will more or less pick itself. I am hoping we can move into the loan market just for a month to get a body or two in and I am trying to speak to the chairman. I am hoping for a bit of help to see us through what I feel is a big month. If not we will just soldier on.”
Cox did have a look at two potential defenders in a midweek reserve game, but won’t be calling on them just yet.
“They were two young centre backs who did extremely well against a more or less first choice Huddersfield, but they are not ready yet for League Two,” he said. “But we will keep an eye an eye on both of them as they have bags of potential.
“It does feel like we’ve run over a few black cats and tripped over a few more, but no one is going to feel sorry for us. This situation happens in football and we just have to get out heads down.
“I have been in football a long time and I have never seen anything like this. It’s not just strains, we are talking long term injuries.
“All I want for Christmas is my full quota of players back, to get them focused, keep them fit and then develop as I think they should do.
“I feel a bit for our medical staff as we put an awful lot of pressure on them. You want good players back.”
After last Saturday’s tame 1-0 home surrender to Accrington - a second defeat on the trot - Cox said the intensity in training had been deliberately upped this week.
“It’s been really important how the boys responded this week and sessions have been tough with not an inch given,” he said.
“That first half performance was unacceptable for this football club last Saturday and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I just sat there and shrugged my shoulders.”
Stags held their own in draws home and away with Portsmouth last season and Cox is relishing the atmosphere at Fratton Park on Saturday.
“A number of years ago they were a Premier league club and winning the FA Cup and they are still a massive club with a massive fan base and amazing resources,” he said. “But this is still just a football match. We have got to be positive and resolute and come away with a positive result.
“We get paid to play football and you want to play in an atmosphere like it will be down there every week. I’d love to manage in an atmosphere like that every week. It’s unbelievable.
“Take the two clubs, they are a club that really has no right to be down at this level of football with their crowds. They should be Championship at least.
“We have just been promoted from non-League football and are still trying to build an infrastructure. So to talk about ourselves in the same breath as Portsmouth in my eyes as a manager is quite pleasing. We are happy to be hanging on their coat tails.”
He added: “Resources and money always talk. Someone asked me the other day who’d win the Premier League and I said Chelsea as they and Manchester City always get the most money.
“We just have to get out heads round it. We know we are going to get a few bloody noses this year, but we just have to go about our business in the right manner.
“No one is going to come in and wave a magic wand. I just want to see a bit of desire and fight. I need to see something in us that says we are not feeling sorry for ourselves.
“Our situation doesn’t mean we can’t put on a show or win a game. I am sick of talking about injuries and suspensions and as long as we have 11 players who work extremely hard they can win a football match.”
Cox is likely to either draft Lee Beevers in as an emergency centre half and recall Liam Marsden or Rob Taylor as a wing back or abandon his usual 3-5-2 formation and go 4-4-2.
twitter David Jackson @Matchtalk
Stags will be without keeper Dimitar Evtimov at Portsmouth on Sat. He's got a groin injury and has gone back to #nffc until next week.
Sutton says Stags have nothing to fear at Fratton Park
Ritchie Sutton, one of only two centre halves not currently injured at the club right now, says Mansfield Town have nothing to fear away to Portsmouth tomorrow.
The former Premier League club will be roared on by a big home crowd, but Sutton said everyone was relishing the match and believing they can get something out of it.
“I couldn’t hear myself think down there for the first 10 minutes last season,” he said.
“It will be a big atmosphere. But we were 1-0 up down there until 15 minutes from the end last season so we know we can go there and get a result.
“Even though they are a massive club with some good players, I know we have got more than enough to beat them. They are not running away with the the league or unbeatable. We’ve won more games than them.”Sutton is now waiting to see if boss Paul Cox will go with a back four or push Lee Beevers in alongside him and Martin Riley to maintain the usual back three.
“At the beginning of the season we had five strong centre halves and knew there was going to be a lot of competition or places,” he said. “But they are dropping like flies. We’ve just been unlucky but we’ve go to do the best with what we’ve got.
“We still have the players in the changing room to get results. There are no excuses - we have to go out there and perform. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.
“If we are asked to play together in a back four, me and Martin Riley have done it before in the past. It won’t be alien to us and we know each other’s game.”
McGuire: Time to roll our sleeves up
mansfieldtown.net, 9th October 2014
Midfielder ready for tough battle at Fratton Park.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/mcguire-time-to-roll-our-sleeves-up-2007871.aspx#Sh1XoDGuUPMTxSXH.99
Midfielder Jamie McGuire wants our team to roll our sleeves up and battle for every point in the midst of a growing injury list - starting this weekend when we make the long trip to the South Coast to take on Portsmouth.
We head to Fratton Park with a lengthy list of absentees, which centre-back Ryan Tafazolli (hamstring) and skipper Adam Murray (suspended) have joined over the past few days.
“We’ve got to roll our sleeves up and just get on with it,” said McGuire.
“What we’re going to try and do is frustrate them. Whatever team the gaffer puts out, we’re going to work hard as a team and make sure we give 100%.”
He continued: “[The league] is so close. If we won last Saturday, we’d have been in the play-offs and everyone would have been happy, but we’ve got beat 1-0 and gone down to 15th.
“So it’s a strange league. There are some big teams around us - Luton, Shrewsbury, who have spent well, and Portsmouth, who are just one point ahead of us.
“If we win it’ll take us back up there again, but I think the main thing for us is being consistent. That’s what we’ve got to try and do. To pick a point up on Saturday against Portsmouth should kick-start us again.”
The motivation to put in a positive display at Fratton Park will partly stem from last Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley.
Our players’ performance in the first half of that match was described by manager Paul Cox as one that ‘won’t be tolerated’ and McGuire agrees that it wasn’t good enough.
“The first half wasn’t acceptable. It wasn’t us as a team, as players, or as a club,” said the Liverpudlian.
“I’ve been [involved] in games like that before, where for the whole 90 minutes it just doesn’t happen as a team, and we can’t let that happen again to be honest.
“The first half was dead and we had nothing about us. To be fair, I think we were quite lucky to come in at half-time only 1-0 down. We changed things around in the second half, huffed and puffed and had a good go, but things just didn’t happen for us.”
McGuire added: “The gaffer has worked us hard [in training] this week and I think we should be. The lads have all responded - especially the ones we’ve got out on the training ground.”
Jamie McGuire’s full interview is available on Stags Player now. To subscribe, click here.
Locking horns with Stags is key for Pompey
The News Portsmouth, by Jordan Cross, firstname.lastname@example.org
Southend boss Phil Brown insisted ‘there’s a way to play against Pompey’.
The Shrimpers boss then brought out the heavy artillery up front on the way to a 2-0 win at Roots Hall last month.
Newport County also enjoyed success over the Blues in August, after subjecting Andy Awford’s side to a physical assault.
Now Mansfield Town arrive at Fratton Park tomorrow as Pompey prepare to deal with another forceful style of play.
The Stags are expected to attempt to rough up Awford’s men off the back of a long-ball approach.
Awford called on his men to go ‘toe-to-toe’ with Paul Cox’s side tomorrow.
And the Pompey boss is certain if his team do that, their quality will carry them to victory.
Awford said: ‘I’m really confident that, if we compete, and do the horrible side of the game first, our quality will come through.
‘That will be the case for the majority of games this season.
‘If we don’t compete and go under, like we did at Southend when we went behind, you will not win football matches.
‘It’s important you have that mentality to compete first and foremost. You have to compete and show desire.
‘You have to go toe-to-toe with them. You have to win the battle with your opponent.
‘You have to win the first and second header, you have to win the tackle and you have to pass it to your team-mate. You have to win your individual battles.
‘If you win more than them, you will win the game.
‘I do believe we have the extra bit of quality.
‘We’ve seen that at Yeovil, when Jed scores against Exeter, and against the likes of Northampton and Peterborough.
‘We’ve seen it. The quality is there without a shadow of a doubt.
‘Even in the draws against Hartlepool and York, you can see we have that extra bit of quality.
‘If we do it right we can then go and hurt teams. That’s the mentality we have.’
Awford explained he was prepared to take negative results against teams operating with a physical approach on the chin himself.
He was aware Brown suggested a certain manner of playing would reap dividends against the Blues.
‘I picked up on what was said (Brown’s comments). I looked at his team selection against us,’ said Awford.
‘He leaves Conor Clifford out, who is a footballer. He leaves Shaquile Coulthirst out, who’s a footballer.
‘Then he brings Barry Corr and Gary Deegan in and beefs it up.
‘I wasn’t surprised Corr played after how he played in the previous season. I was surprised how Deegan did instead of Clifford, though.
‘I’m a new manager and I have to learn quickly.
‘The defeat against Newport was as much down to me, what I selected and how I set us up.
‘That’s a learning curve for me. That game should have been 0-0.
‘But I made mistakes with team selection, team shape and personnel. That’s something I’ve learnt.
‘Maybe when we play Newport next time we will have a different type of player in there. I’m learning.’
Left-side shout is tricky for Pompey boss
The News Portsmouth, by Jordan Cross, email@example.com
Andy Awford has a tough call to make over choosing his left wing-back against Mansfield Town.
The Pompey boss is set to return to the 3-5-2 system which has been his settled formula in the league tomorrow.
And that will pit Dan Butler against Nicky Shorey for a starting berth against the Stags.
Shorey got the nod at York last weekend in the 0-0 draw and has been ahead of Butler for most of the season.
But the 20-year-old has been in the starting XI for four of the past five Pompey games.
And defender Paul Robinson feels it’s a tricky shout for Awford to make tomorrow.
‘It’s not an easy one for the manager,’ said Robinson.
‘Nicky has great experience. He has a lovely left foot on him and you know what you are going to get week-in, week-out.
‘Dan has done well when he’s played. The manager has a tough decision to make between them on the left-hand side.’
Robinson has been impressed with the quality shown by Butler in his recent run in the starting line-up.
He knows missing out at York last weekend would have been tough to take for the Isle of Wight player.
But the Millwall loanee would expect no different from him.
Robinson said: ‘Dan has done brilliantly and taken his chance really well recently.
‘He works really hard down that left-hand side.
‘I’m sure he would have been a little frustrated to be left out at York but that’s football.
‘You’d be disappointed if he wasn’t. But he’s done really well when he’s come in and credit to him.
‘He’s a good, hard-working lad with a bright future.
‘He has to stay patient and keep doing the right things.
‘That will then show in his performances when he plays.’
Robinson, as an elder statesman in the Pompey squad, has been happy to pass on his wisdom to Butler.
It’s a stance not always echoed by experienced pros with younger players.
He said: ‘I like to pass on my experience where I can.
‘I like to pass on my advice and tips.
‘It’s important for senior pros to help the ones below you out.
‘You have to have belief in yourself and be able to do that, in my book.
‘We need to be able to create the next wave of players.
‘Helping each other out and improving where you can will keep the club in very good shape.’
Latest | October 2014