COX ON CAPTAINCY, MURRAY, NICK WRIGHT, ETC
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox ponders his captaincy options
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 Nottingham Post
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox is keeping an open mind when it comes to naming his captain for next season.
The Stags manager was in a similar position when he arrived at the club last summer, eventually naming Adam Murray as skipper.
The talismanic midfielder led by example, as he helped his side to third in the Blue Square Bet Premier, eventually losing out to York City in the play-offs.
But he has since been promoted to assistant-manager and while he still has a key role to play on the pitch, Cox says the armband might go elsewhere given Murray's other responsibilities.
It is a decision he will not take lightly, with new signing George Pilkington a candidate for the job.
Cox said a player yet to arrive could also be in contention, as he looks to go a step further this season and lead Mansfield back into the Football League.
He said: "Having given him the assistant manager's job, maybe giving him the captain's armband as well will be too much. But knowing Muzza, he is a greedy little fella and will probably want both.
"Pilks comes into the equation and one of the future new signings might do as well. We have our eye on people with league experience, who have captained their clubs but anything can happen.
"We spoke about this last pre-season and Adam Murray stood out from the pack in showing me he wanted to be captain. I am sure from the group dynamic, there will be one that comes out from the crowd.
"You look at Pilks and not just as a player but as an actual person. He's a bit like Muzz, in the same mould. He is going to be a brilliant guy to work with and one of the best central defenders at not just this level, but the one above.
"He is a big signing, not just because he is a good player but he has a great mind-set too."
Murray will miss the start of the season following ankle surgery, while fellow central midfielder Anthony Howell could also be a doubt for the season opener on Saturday August 11 at home to Newport after having a knee operation in the close season
Stags can hit the ground running despite Murray absence – Paul Cox
Saturday, July 07, 2012 Nottingham Post
MANSFIELD Town can hit the ground running at the start of the Blue Square Bet Premier season – despite being without influential midfielder Adam Murray.
Last season's captain – who will combine his playing duties with being manager Paul Cox's assistant next season – has had surgery on a long-standing ankle problem and will miss a large chunk of pre-season.
Cox knows an operation was required after Murray had to have painkilling injections to get him through games towards the end of last season.
The fact he will not be fit to start pre-season training means he will not be fit for the start of the new campaign.
But the Stags already have Anthony Howell and Gary Roberts and have signed experienced Jamie Tolley and highly-rated Chris Clements.
All can play big roles in the centre of midfield and Cox believes that means Murray's absence will not affect the team.
He said: "Adam is a very big player for us but he needs the operation. But even without him, we have got a few good options.
"You are always going to miss a player of his quality. But, with the additions we have made, it is nice to have the permutations that we have."
Mansfield finished third last season but missed out on promotion after losing to York in the play-off semi-finals, who eventually won promotion, via Wembley, into League Two.
Cox wants a crack at the title this season and knows Murray will play a key part, as he expects the former Derby man not to be out of action for too long.
"He will miss a big part of pre-season so I am not confident he will be fit for the start of the campaign," said the Stags boss. "Adam will be playing catch up with his fitness but he is a determined lad, he will be back soon enough to play a major part."
Nicky's made of the Wright stuff for Stags
Friday, July 06, 2012 Nottingham Post
PAUL Cox believes Nick Wright can put himself firmly back among the non-league big-boys by getting in the goals for Mansfield Town this season.
The 24-year-old striker has joined from Kidderminster and will be looking to make an impression alongside Matt Green, who bagged 30 goals for the Stags last season.
Wright notched 15 times himself as Kidderminster just missed out on the play-offs in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Stags boss Cox said: "Nick Wright was the golden boy of non-league football a year ago, an England 'C' regular.
"He is still only 24. He has come here because he wants to put himself back on the map.
"Last season we brought Greeny in and the first thing people said to me was he is not a goalscorer. He went and scored 30. It is about bringing players in and working on their strengths and weaknesses."
The Stags have been linked with a move for Notts County's veteran striker Lee Hughes while Jake Speight, who scored 21 league goals for Wrexham last season, has returned to the club for a second spell.