YORK FIRST LEG PREVIEWS
Spotlight on York City v Mansfield Town
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 Nottingham Post
York (from): Ingham, Musselwhite, Parslow, Meredith, Fyfield, Smith, Potts, Challinor, Blair, Mclaughlin, Tonne, Chambers, Brown, Walker, Ashikodi, Reed, Blinkhorn, Doig, Pilkington, Moke, Kelly.
Team news: First-choice goalkeeper Michael Ingham is set to return from injury after missing the last three games, with 43-year-old goalkeeping coach Paul Musselwhite dropping to the bench, despite keeping three clean-sheets.
Manager Gary Mills made six changes to his side that beat Forest Green on Saturday, resting a number of key players.
They will return and it is between Dan Parslow and former Forest defender Chris Doig as to who will partner captain Chris Smith at the heart of the back four. Moses Ashikodi, Matthew Blinkhorn and Erik Tonne are all expected to drop back to the bench.
Stags (from): Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Sutton, Riley, Thompson, Geohaghon, Andrew, Murray, Howell, Smith, Briscoe, Hutchinson, Roberts, Worthington, Todd, Stevenson, Rhead, Green, Dyer, Meikle.
Team news: After refreshing his squad with seven changes against Kidderminster, boss Paul Cox has a selection headache with a fully fit to choose from. He is set to bring back top scorer Matt Green and captain Adam Murray, while Alan Marriott will be restored in goal and Exodus Geohaghon should come back into the defence. After two impressive displays, Lee Stevenson also comes into the manager's thoughts while Gary Roberts, Murray and Anthony Howell all battle it out for two places in the centre of midfield.
Danger man: Jason Walker. The striker has netted 18 times in 30 appearances this season for the Minstermen, having signed from Luton Town last summer for £60,000. Made his name for Barrow between 2007 and 2010.
Manager: Gary Mills. As a player, he won the European Cup with Nottingham Forest while still a teenager and managed Notts County from January until November in 2004. After leaving Meadow Lane, he had a spell with Alfreton before returning to Tamworth, where he had managed prior to joining Notts, and led them into the Conference. Went to York City in October 2010 and has led them to fourth this season, and also into the FA Trophy final where they will face Newport at Wembley on Saturday May 12
Cox calls on Mansfield Town players to remain fearless in the play-offs
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 Nottingham Post
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox believes being fearless will be more important than their red-hot form as his side take on York City in the play-offs tonight.
The Stags head to Bootham Crescent for the first leg of their Blue Square Bet Premier play-off semi-final in superb form.
They have suffered just one defeat in their last 15 games, winning 13 of them to finish in third spot.
But Cox says the important factor over the two legs will be for his players to remain calm and collected. He said: "It is about who handles the pressure, who embraces it and we want to enjoy the occasion.
"It is not something you should be scared of or be anxious about. We seem to be a different animal at the minute, the way we are going about our business.
"No matter who is in the side, we are dynamic and really look as though we have the bit between our teeth.
"One of the biggest points is the lads do not seem to be scared, they do not seem to be anxious and they are embracing it. That is what I want to continue, I want the whole club to embrace the play-offs."
Cox made seven changes to his side at Kidderminster on Saturday, giving key players a rest. But they still ran out impressive 3-0 winners.
And Cox admits: "It has given me a headache, not just for the next two games but for next season as well. That is what I have asked the lads to do.
"I like people to answer back with performances and there are one or two who have stood out and given me a big headache."
'Winner' Cox all out to lead Mansfield Town to play-off glory
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 Nottingham Post
TONIGHT is a significant date in Mansfield Town's history.
But, as it is proving, it is not as significant as Thursday, May 19, 2011.
That was the day the Stags announced the appointment of Paul Cox as their new manager.
After winning two promotions in a successful stint at Eastwood Town, chairman John Radford placed his faith in Cox, setting him a top-five target.
It was not a big-name former player, more an up-and-coming manager who had learned his trade in the lower leagues.
But for those who had doubts, they have been dispelled, as the queues outside the ground proved on Monday morning, when tickets for tonight's first leg of the play-off semi-final at York went on sale.
After four seasons out of the Football League, finally Mansfield have a crack at returning after making the play-offs for the first time.
In 2008/09, they finished 12th on 62 points, they finished ninth on the same points a year later and last season, slumped to 13th with 61 points.
But this campaign has been far different, surpassing their previous best tally in the Blue Square Bet Premier by 27 points – ending on 89 and in third spot.
It has set-up a two-legged showdown with York, with the return fixture on Bank Holiday Monday at the One Call Stadium.
But while it has been a successful season, ending with 13 wins, a draw and just one defeat in their last 15 games, Cox says it will not feel that way unless they win promotion via Wembley this month.
Cox, whose side has won its last six games, said: "On the one hand, we have over-achieved but for me, personally, given the mind-set of the players and staff at the moment, we have under-achieved a little bit. We don't want to finish third.
"You have seen in the players' performances lately that they have a desire to win things.
"Saturday was the prime example because we made seven changes against Kidderminster and we won 3-0. All seven affected the game in a positive way.
"To see the queues for tickets was great. It will make the chairman proud, seeing people backing the football club.
"He has put a lot of finance into the club by buying the ground and I think what will be pleasing for him is being backed by people in and around Mansfield.
"With this place, there is scope to go to the stars if we keep pushing in the right direction.
"What we have tried to do is instil a winning mentality and the club had only finished with 62 points maximum.
"In my head, progress for me was probably finishing just outside the play-offs, laying some strong foundations. That would have been progress.
"We have exceeded a lot of expectations but in my heart, I always want to win. I want to finish top.
"And if we do get promotion this year, I do not want to settle for mid-table in League Two. I want to pushing to fight for promotion again.
"If we do not go up this season, I want to be challenging for the championship next time round."
It is that winning mentality that has spread through the football club ahead of tonight's game.
To have all happened in his first season, after putting a new squad together, makes it even more of an achievement.
But despite their form, Cox insists there is nothing to pick between the teams in the play-offs, with Wrexham playing Luton in the other semi-final.
"It is who plays well over two games and then it will be down to who plays well over 90 minutes at Wembley," he said.
"Our form coming into this means nothing. We have to show the same mind-set and that desire and hunger. Hopefully, we will not let the supporters down.
"York have some very good players and Gary Mills (their manager) left five or six out at the weekend and I am sure they will come back in against us.
"We saw they had good players all through the side when we played them twice over Christmas (both draws) and it will be hard over the two legs."
One thing is certain, Mansfield have come a long way under Cox's guidance; now it's York away tonight and at home on Monday. Cox hopes to overcome that challenge, paving the way for another significant date in Stags' history.
Sunday, May 20, 2012 – the date of the play-off final at Wembley. A date Cox hopes will go down as the day Mansfield won promotion back into the Football League
Stags are the babies of the play-offs, insists Paul Cox
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 Nottingham Post
PAUL Cox insists Mansfield Town are the 'babies' of the play-offs.
The Stags come up against York tonight in the first-leg of their semi-final while Wrexham take on Luton tomorrow.
It is four former Football League clubs fighting it out but Cox says the others have been building their squads over a longer period than Mansfield.
Cox only took over last summer but his new-look squad has knitted together well, finishing the season in third.
But he said: "There are no mind games. I know my players and that is the most important thing and I know when they show the confidence that they have of late, we are not bad.
"But we are a work in progress, we are early on in the plans I had for this group of players and there is a lot more in front of us.
"You look at the other teams and they are 18 months in front of us in putting things together but we are getting better.
"We have to understand we are the babies of the play-offs but that is taking nothing away from us. We want to win and will be working hard to do that.
"We want to turn this club into a winning club where, from the first team to the reserves to the youth team, it is winning.
"It is the only way we can progress, by all tiers being successful and winning.
"The play-offs are going to be interesting. There is a fine line between all four sides. It is between four big clubs."
On his first season in charge, Cox added: "I said when I first came here it was as if there was a dark cloud hanging over the football club.
"Between us, and it has taken a lot of hard work from the players, the supporters, staff, chairman and directors, we are moving this club in the right direction. We have put down strong foundations."
VIDEO Cox - the place is buzzing
recorded 30 April 2012
After leading us to a Play-off semi-final in his first season in charge, manager Paul Cox is delighted to have everyone around the club buzzing with excitement ahead of tomorrow night's tie with York City.
Speaking at yesterday's press meeting, Cox said: He said: "I think the football club and the town are buzzing, as many people as we can take away with us or get to the One Call over the two legs, the better.
"I am looking forward to the home game because I think this place could be a cauldron in the second leg.
"The lads do not seem to be scared or anxious, they seem to be embracing it, which is what I want the whole club to do."
Wednesday's tie with York marks the 50th game of our season and Cox has admitted he has been surprised by the energy of his players heading into a vital period in the season.
He said: "The lads are in high spirits, there is a bit of spring in their step and the most important thing at this stage of the season is they seem full of energy."
We have enjoyed a winning run of 13 wins from 15 games stretching back to the beginning of February and Cox is pleased with the effort and performances his players have put in.
He said: "We seem to be a different animal at the minute. The squad is hungry, dynamic and look as though they have got the bit between their teeth."
Cox rested seven of his players in Saturday's 3-0 victory over Kidderminster and he was delighted with the performance put in by those who came into the side.
He said: "For the lads to go in, put that kind of shift in and beat what was a very good side in Kidderminster, they deserve pats on the back.
"It has given me a headache, not just for the next two games, but next season as well.
"I do not like people that sulk about and I prefer people to answer back with performances and there is one or two that have really stood out."
Our semi-final opponents York City ending their season in fourth place with a 1-0 home win against Forest Green and Cox believes they will be a stern test for his side.
He said: "They have got good players all the way through their side and we saw over the two games over Christmas that it was a very even game and I think it will be over the two legs.
"We are going to give it our best shot and hopefully we will not let the supporters down because they have been out of this world this season."
VIDEO: Play-Offs gives me a tingle - Murray --->
Mon 30 Apr 2012
Two games away from a potential play-off final at Wembley, skipper Adam Murray has revealed his excitement ahead of Wednesday's mouth-watering semi-final tie with York City.
Speaking at this morning's press meeting, Murray said: "Last night was the first time I let myself think about the play-offs and it does send a little tingle down your spine.
"It is going to be like nothing we have experienced during the season. We are going into the game confident and we have got to make sure that we stick to our game plan, as we know that York are a very good side."
Our league season ended with a run of 13 wins out of 15 games and Murray is hoping to continue our winning run throughout the play-offs.
He said: "We have to stay focused. We know what our targets are, we know what we have to achieve and we know to beat York we will have to be on the top of our game.
"We have really turned things around at the football club this season, but like we have said all along; this is where the hard work starts."
Our counterparts, York City, enjoyed a similar second half to the season as us and are unbeaten in their last six games heading into Wednesday's tie.
Murray said: "They have always been a good team since the manager [Gary Mills] has gone in there. They play a good passing game and they are a strong outfit. They have got pace and strength all around them, I think they rested a few players on Saturday so it is going to be a tough challenge for us, but we will go there prepared.
"In the other games against them it has been tight and there hasn't been many chances in them, so we are going to have to go there and make sure that we are on our game."
Stags boss Cox dismisses bookies' play-off favourites tag
chad.co.uk, Monday 30 April 2012
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox today dismissed the bookmakers' decision to install Stags as promotion favourites ahead of Wednesday's BSBP play-offs semi-final first leg at outsiders York City.
“I don't know why we've been made favourites,” he said, despite Stags ending the regular season with six straight wins in a run of 13 wins and a draw in the last 15.
“I suppose it is the form we are coming into it with. I am not trying to play mind games. You have to look at how long the other three clubs have been putting their squads together. “You have got to pick Wrexham as favourites for the season they've had.
“We will give it our best shot and we won't let our supporters down. When we show the kind of hunger we have done, we are not bad.
“But we are early on in our plans here for this group of players. The other clubs are 18 months ahead of us in building things. We are a work in progress. Taking nothing away from us, we are the babies of the play-offs.”
Stags drew 1-1 away and 2-2 at home with York over the Christmas period.
The Minstermen ended the season with three straight wins without conceding as part of four wins and a draw in the last five and Cox said:“York have good players all the way through the side.
“The games between us were very even at Christmas. But we seem to be a different animal here at the minute.
“The squad is dynamic and hungry. They don't seem to be scared or feeling anxious about the play-offs. They seem to be embracing them which is what I want them to do.
“The place will be like a cauldron on Monday. The football club is buzzing and the town is buzzing.
“The players can write a chapter in the club's history which would be nice.”
On Thursday night, second favourites Wrexham travel to Luton Town for their first leg and Cox said: “Both of them have picked up of late and are massive clubs.
“Luton had 8,500 in their last home game and you'd struggle to find a better gate outside the bottom half of League One. It will be who performs on the day and who handles the pressure best.
“It's going to be interesting. There is a fine line between all four sides. They are big clubs at this level of football and there will be fine margins between going out and winning it.
“The interesting thing is the 46 games that have gone now count for nothing.
“Our lads are in high spirits and there is a spring in their step. The biggest thing is they are still full of energy and running at this time of the season.
“Often by now players are starting to feel the strain mentally and physically, but these lads are chasing around like kids in the school playground still.
“Driving into work today I could hardly get into the car park with the hordes of fans trying to buy tickets for the play-offs. At the start of the season that's what we set out to do.
“It's been a long season with ups and downs. But the big games are now to come.
“To come here and see blue sky and thousands queuing this morning – all credit to this club.
“When I joined I thought there was a bit of a dark cloud hanging over the club. Between us all, the chairman, the board, the players, the fans, we have all worked hard to move in the right direction and started to lay some foundations.
“We are being backed by people in and around Mansfield and, with a catchment area of 250,000-300,000, there is scope for us to go to go to the stars if we keep pushing in the right direction.”
Cox now has big decisions to make on who starts the York game with seven changes on Saturday allowing his fringe players to superbly stake their claim with a 3-0 win at Kidderminster that ended Harriers' own promotion ambitions.
Cox admitted: “It's given me a headache, not just for the play-offs, but for next season as well. That was all I asked the lads to do. I don't like sulkers. I like them to answer back with performances.
“Some people said we'd put out a weakened side. But John Thompson, Andy Todd and Jon Worthington have probably got more Football League games behind them than most at the club.”
Stags skipper Murray: Fans have bought into our success
Tuesday, May 01, 2012, Nottingham Post
MANSFIELD Town skipper Adam Murray is delighted to see the supporters are sharing the same belief as the whole squad as they head into the play-offs.
The Stags finished third in the Blue Square Bet Premier and head to York City tomorrow night for the first leg of their play-off semi-final.
Mansfield went through a difficult period in the last two months of 2011, but ended the season on a run of 13 wins and a draw from their last 15 games, propelling them into the play-offs.
And huge queues were seen at the ground first thing yesterday morning, as the fans flocked to the One Call Stadium to buy tickets for both legs against York.
Murray insists the belief was always there in the squad and is pleased the fans are just as confident as the Stags look to win back a place in the Football League.
He said: "It is a brilliant sight to see and it is a picture of what we have achieved so far. We have turned things around at this football club this season but this is where the hard work starts.
"Earlier in the season people questioned things, people saying it was not the right team, it is not the right manager. But it never looked like we were adrift to the players.
"We had our goals, we knew what we were about and from within the group the belief was always there. Now, people out there are believing as well and we know we have changed a few mind-sets.
"Looking at the bigger picture, there will be bad patches again. It is the way football goes but the hope is now people will stay onside because they can see the bigger picture as well."
Murray says the squad is buzzing ahead of tomorrow night's game, with the return leg at home on Bank Holiday Monday.
"It is one of those occasions that speaks for itself. We have good professionals here, a great team spirit and we know what it is all about," he added.
"It is about preparing right. It is going to be a tough task."
York have given Mansfield Town an additional 600 standing tickets for tomorrow night's play-off semi-final first leg at Bootham Crescent.
It takes the number of tickets allocated to Stags fans to 1,700.
Tickets went on sale to season ticket holders and supporters' club members at 9am yesterday and will go on general sale this morning from the Kevin Bird Suite, located at the rear of the Ian Greaves Stand, which will stay open until 6.30pm.
It will re-open from 9am the following morning and will close at 3pm.
The match will be all ticket for Stags fans
Mills: Bring on Mansfield
bluesqfootball.com, Monday April 30, 2012
York City manager Gary Mills has attempted to fire up his troops ahead of their play-off semi-final first leg tie against Mansfield Town.
Mills has led the Minstermen to a fourth-place finish in the regular Blue Square Bet Premier season and will now face the Stags as they kick off their play-off campaign.
The Minstermen drew both of their league games with Paul Cox's outfit this term, but Mills believes his side have what it takes to dominate the opposition this time round.
He told The Press: "The season starts now.
"We have got so much to play for and I am looking forward to it. We know it's Mansfield now, so bring them on.
"We are ready for it. We were behind in both matches against them in the league and had to show a bit of character but, once we were a bit braver, we got the ball down and dominated the games."
York host the first leg at Bootham Crescent on Wednesday, with kick-off at 19:30.
Mansfield Town made favourites to seal promotion by league sponsors Blue Square
chad.co.uk Wednesday 2 May 2012
York City meet third placed Mansfield Town in the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off semi-finals and it promises to be a close affair.
The two sides were inseparable in two regular season games which both resulted in draws. Mansfield as the form team in the division over the last few months have moved into a position as favourites to join champions Fleetwood Town in League 2.
Blue Square are quoting them at 9/4 with City as 11/4 shots just ahead of old foes Luton Town who, unusually for them, find themselves as 10/3 outsiders. York are 6/5 favourites to make home advantage count in the first leg, with Mansfield as 15/8 outsiders, a very probable draw is priced at 12/5.
As for who will prevail after the two-legs – Blue Square quote Mansfield as the 4/5 favourites, with York ever so slightly behind them at 10/11 to reach Wembley for a second time this season.
The similar chance of each club can also be illustrated by the odds for the first goalscorer at Bootham Crescent on Wednesday evening. Jason Walker and Matt Green are the 11/2 joint favourites.
Green is just 7/2 to get on the scoresheet in a victory for the away side. Matty Blair has had a fantastic season for The Minstermen and he features in a number of exclusive Blue Square player specials on the game.
Blair is 12/1 to score from outside the box and 13/2 to get York's first goal on the night. York's home record for the season is only the 8th best in the division despite their finish in 4th.
They've only won two games at home to their fellow top 10 sides. In contrast Mansfield have been beaten just three times when visiting teams in the top half of the final table. The Stags have won five of their last six away games including a comprehensive 3-0 victory away at Kidderminster Harriers on the final day.
An incredible 10 matches during Mansfield's season have finished with a 1-1 scoreline, that's nearly a quarter of their games – the price for that outcome in the first leg is 13/2. York have drawn five games by that 1-1 scoreline too, so it could be the best correct score bet on what is likely to be a very cagey night
Latest | May 2012