video interview with Paul Cox
video interview with Howell and Westlake
Duo could return for Pompey clash
mansfieldtown.net, 16th January 2014
Manager Paul Cox has revealed that Martin Riley and Jamie McGuire are both likely to be included in our matchday squad for our weekend trip to Portsmouth.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/duo-could-return-for-pompey-clash-1297853.aspx?#4CfpdjlleHZI4kqm.99
McGuire, 30, hasn’t figured since he suffered a groin injury in our 2-1 win at Cheltenham Town, whilst Riley, 27, last featured in our New Year’s Day draw with Burton Albion.
Meanwhile, frontman Sam Clucas is also close to making a comeback, but Ben Hutchinson has suffered a slight setback with his recovery from a hamstring injury.
“’Riles’ and ‘Jammo’ will probably be added to the squad, depending on any aches and pains [they may get after today’s training session,” said Cox.
He added: “’Clukes’ might be between seven and 10 days away, but ‘Hutch’ has had a little bit of a setback. If you look at them two, it’s two quality players that have been missing from our squad.
“It’ll be nice to have a full squad back and end the season on a real positive note.”
Our team make the 198-mile trip to Fratton Park on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to table-toppers Scunthorpe United, but we have emerged victorious from our last two away matches in Sky Bet League Two.
Cox continued: “Our away record is not bad. We’ve gone to some tough places and not just performed well, but got really good results.
“Travelling holds no fear for the boys, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that it’s our home form what needs to improve.
“Just looking at the table of late, everyone from the bottom up to about 10th [position] is more or less involved in a relegation battle.
“I think something like eight points separate [teams in the relegation zone] from 10th [position] and it just shows you what a tough but even league this is.
“It is fine lines between winning and losing football matches and we’ve got two very tough games ahead of us.”
When asked about the club’s search for new players, Cox replied: “I’d like to strengthen the squad, but there are situations we have to adhere to and I have to work to budgets, etcetera.
“I’d like to bring at least one [player] in, maybe even more, and we’ve been working really hard, covering lots of ground across the country to watch players.
“We’ve got numerous portfolios of players, who I’ve either watched myself or got my staff to watch so we’ve got our targets, but that’s only the easy part.
“The hard part is convincing players to come here, because ultimately, they’ve got to be better than what we’ve already got, but I’d like to think though that if we’re given the go ahead, we can bring [a player] in.”
He added: “I’ll openly admit that the squad needs strengthening and we’ve known that for a vast period of time.
“It’s not a panic at the minute. We’ve got plenty of time left before the end of January, but for me personally the sooner we can get someone in, the better it will be for the squad.”
Paul Cox's full press meeting will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.
Still no new faces as Stags head for Portsmouth
Mansfield Town look set to head to Portsmouth tomorrow for Saturday’s big six-pointer (3pm) with no new faces on board the coach as the January transfer window passes the halfway point.
Manager Paul Cox and his staff are trying hard to attract new players to the club, particularly a striker, but have so far had no success.
Cox said: “I would like to strengthen the squad. There are situations we have to adhere to and we have to work with budgets etc, but I would like to bring at least one in, maybe even more.
“We have been working hard, covering a lot of ground throughout the country, watching players and we have numerous portfolios. That is the easy part. The hard part is convincing them to come here.
“But I would like to think, if given the go-ahead, I could bring one in.
“The squad needs strengthening, we’ve know that for a vast period of time, and hopefully we will do that. There is no panic at the moment as there is plenty of time to the end of January.”
Mansfield, who have won their last two away games, know a result is essential at Fratton Park where former Stags hero Ritchie Barker has been installed as manager to try to revive Pompey fortunes.
The former Premier League club are 20th, three places and two points behind the Stags, having only won one in 11 League Two games.
“Our away record is not bad at all. We have gone to some tough places and not just performed well but got some good results,” said Cox.
“I don’t think our travels hold any fear for the boys. But it’s not rocket science that our home record needs to improve.
“If you look at the table from bottom to 10th everyone is involved in a relegation battle. It just shows what a tough and very even league this is.”
With Stags struggling to bring in new players, in stark contrast, Portsmouth, who attract crowds of over 15,000, have now brought in five.
David Alfei, Ryan Taylor and Nicky Shorey all made their debuts last week and Pompey have also acquired midfielder Wes Fogden, from Bournemouth, and Jake Jervis, who is awaiting international clearance after a spell in Turkey.
However, Mansfield should welcome back defender Martin Riley and midfielder Jamie McGuire after injury, proving neither show any ill reaction to an inter-squad game on Tuesday.
Mansfield boss Cox back in front of the media
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox was back in front of the local media this morning for the first time since Boxing Day.
Cox explained he had decided to try a different routine and give his players more personal attention rather than meet the press before the game at Cheltenham.
When Stags won that, Cox, being superstitious as are so many in the game, decided to keep that new routine of not doing the press going which, brought three unbeaten games.
But it came crashing to a halt in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Scunthorpe and, after being away on Tuesday morning when a press conference was due, he was back in front of the cameras today.
He explained: “It’s easy to get carried away in football and sometimes you have to find yourself. Before the Cheltenham game I had a look at the things I was doing and wondered if my concentration towards the players had altered.
“I decided to give them 100 per cent and get round and talk to them all.
“I have heard all the conspiracy theories but they were wrong.
“I felt the bits and bobs I added helped to a positive result and everyone who knows me knows how superstitious I am.
“So I asked Adam Murray and Micky Moore if they could take the job on with the press while we put together that little run.
“They were really tough matches, but we won two of them, drew one and only lost to the team at the top of the league.
“I do enjoy talking to the press before and after games. But my main priority is the mindset of my footballers.”
After a tricky end to 2013, Cox is hoping his side can now go on a second half of the season run of success for the third year on the trot, starting at Portsmouth on Saturday.
“In the two and a half years since I have been here we have had an incredible amount of success and our stats for 2013 were amazing. That sort of success might not come around again for another 10 years which is hard for people to understand,” he said.
“All that happened last year was that we had a blip between October and December, as we have had before. My job now is to try to create the right mindset coming round the bend for the last 20 games like I have done since I have been here and since I have been in management.
“Anyone who puts together a run of three or four games now, not getting beaten, will all of a sudden find themselves in a totally different position.
“We need to get rid of a bit of anxiety. At home there is a lot of anxiety among supporters and players, and teams are playing on that.”
Portsmouth v Mansfield Town: Match preview
By Nottingham Post, January 17, 2014
MANSFIELD Town are not panicking, says boss Paul Cox.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Portsmouth-v-Mansfield-Town-Match-preview/story-20456727-detail/story.html#ixzz2qe2zJ4l9
The Stags have still not signed anyone in the transfer market this month, despite Cox's desire to strengthen his squad for the second half of the season in League Two.
They targeted former Nottingham Forest striker Marlon Harewood, but he has joined rivals Hartlepool United, and the only activity at the club is the exit of players like Calvin Andrew and John McCombe.
It means they are currently looking weaker than they were at the start of the year, but Cox is relaxed about the situation.
"There's no panic at the minute, we've got plenty of time before the end of January, but the sooner we can get one in the better it will be for the squad," he said.
"I would like to strengthen the squad.
"I have to work to budgets, but I'd like to bring at least one in maybe even more.
"We've been working really hard, covering a lot of ground watching players.
"We've got numerous portfolios of players so we've got our targets.
"That's the easy part, the hard part is convincing them to come here because they ultimately have to be better than what we have got.
"I'd like to think if we're given the go ahead we can bring one in."
Cox could soon be boosted by the return of 11-goal leading scorer Sam Clucas from injury, saying the 23-year-old is seven to ten days away from a return having not played since mid-December.
He will not be back in time for their clash at Portsmouth tomorrow (3pm), however, as the Stags aim to bounce back from a 2-0 home defeat to leaders Scunthorpe United.
Cox insists they are still confident of getting a good result at Fratton Park, having won their last two away games against Cheltenham and Exeter City.
"The away record is not bad at the minute," he said.
"We've gone to some tough places and not just performed well, but got really good results.
"I don't think our travels hold any fear for the boys.
"As everybody knows it's our home form that really needs to improve."
Mansfield are three places and two points above Pompey in 17th spot.
After Portsmouth, the Stags then face Wycombe and Bury, who are also at the wrong end of the table.
But Cox insists there is no extra significance to the games as he tries to lead his side away from the dreaded relegation zone.
"You go from bottom to tenth, everyone is involved more or less in a relegation battle," he said.
Howell hopes to continue away form
mansfieldtown.net, 16th January 2014
Midfielder Anthony Howell hopes we can continue our good away form when we make the long journey to face Portsmouth on Saturday.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/howell-hopes-to-continue-away-form-1298614.aspx?#IGEjXAZcCeZ8fROS.99
Our team, who have won their last two away matches in Sky Bet League Two, visit Fratton Park having accumulated 19 points on their travels so far this term.
“We’ve been quality away from home and the lads have been on [their game], so it’s a bit disappointing that [our home form] hasn’t been the same,” said Howell.
“But our away form is good and hopefully we can go to Portsmouth and keep it going.”
Saturday’s match poses a near 400-mile round-trip for our squad and is sandwiched in-between gruelling treks to Exeter City (448 miles) and Plymouth Argyle (534 miles).
When asked about what happens on long coach journeys, Howell replied: “Some of the lads like to play cards, but I bring my pillow and just try and sleep all the way down.
“It’s all about preparing for the game the day after, so when we get to the hotel I go for a dip in the pool and just try and get as much rest as possible.”
Reflecting on our recent home form, Howell added: “To be honest, I think it’s more about the focus, rather than the mindset of the lads.
“At this present time with where we are sitting in the league, most people are not happy and that’s understandable. People are going to make their views known and it’s unfortunate that [it happens] during a game.
“But the lads have got to be able to concentrate on the game, roll their sleeves up and concentrate on the team we’re playing against.”
He added: “As a unit I think we’re trying everything possible to keep strong and block out the negatives.
“In every perspective, we’ve just got to stick together and that includes the fans, because this is an important time when we need everyone to come together.”
Stags Player subscribers can now watch interviews with Anthony Howell and Darryl Westlake. To subscribe, click here.
Get behind us now when we need you, Howell asks Stags fans
Stags midfielder Anthony Howell is calling on supporters to unite behind the team when they need it now rather than wait until things are going well again.
Howell and his team mates have taken some nasty stick from a minority section of the Stags’ fans, but Howell knows how important the fans’ backing is in helping Mansfield turn the season around, starting tomorrow at Portsmouth.
“We have been quality away from home,” he said. “The lads have been on it and I hope we can keep that going at Portsmouth. But we are disappointed it’s not been the same at home.
“It’s more of a focus within the mindset of the lads. Most people are not happy where we are in the league and that is understandable.
“People make their views known, though it’s unfortunate when that is during the game. But you just have to roll your sleeves up.
“It is not nice, but it’s human nature and part and parcel of the game. It’s your job. If you were in the Premiership with the size of their crowds there would be a lot more people booing.
“We are doing everything possible to keep strong and block out the negatives. I have been here three seasons now and I have had boos and people shout at me. But I have not once reacted.
“You get back in the changing room and players put an arm around me or the gaffer talks to me and when you get home your family tell you there’s nothing to worry about.”
He added: “We want the fans on board with us. This is an important time and we need everyone together as we have this last 20 games left to make sure we stay in the league and move up the table.
“At the moment some are not pulling the right way as supporters of Mansfield Town.
“It seems that around Christmas time we get booed, then we pick up and fans start to warm to us. It’s disappointing it should have to be like that as I think they should be on board anyway as supporters, though we are happy to receive constructive criticism.”
Just two weeks after the game at Exeter, the Stags are back on the road for another gruelling haul today and Howell said: “It is a long way down there and I will just get my rest in and maybe have a dip in the pool at the hotel.
“I like to get as much rest as possible. I share a room with Lindon Meikle so I will go for a walk to try to get away from him for a bit.
“I take a pillow and sleep all the way down there. I wake up when we are nearly there so it doesn’t seem as long a journey.
“Some of the lads like to play cards. But I have a baby at home so I like to get my sleep in and have a bit of a rest.
“I am always thrown in with Lindon. I was in with Junior Daniel but he likes Ben Hutchinson in with him as they like to play cards. No one else likes to be in with Lindon!”
Westlake keen to cement place in team
mansfieldtown.net, 17th January 2014
Defender Darryl Westlake is keen to cement his place in our team over the coming weeks.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/westlake-keen-to-cement-place-in-team-1300244.aspx#QfDYVOptQQ5fWlfz.99
The 22-year-old recently extended his loan spell at One Call Stadium until the end of the campaign, having initially joined us on loan from Sheffield United in November.
“I’m pleased to be staying,” said Westlake. “The main reason why I came here is to play games and hopefully that’s what I’m going to continue doing.
“It was a tough test with all the games over Christmas, but I feel sharp and now is the fittest that I’ve been all season.”
Westlake made his 10th appearance for us against Scunthorpe United last Saturday, as our three-match unbeaten streak came to an end courtesy of two goals from Paul Hayes.
“In the three games after [the defeat at] Rochdale, we picked up seven points, which was pleasing, but it was disappointing to lose to Scunthorpe,” continued the full-back.
“We had a couple of chances and if we had taken them then it would have been a different game, but they scored a great goal and it turned the [momentum of the] game.
“We were all up for the game at the start and when you’re on top for the first 15 minutes, but a goal like that goes in, there is nothing that you can really do.
“But I think we still dug deep and maybe we could have got a point at the end of the game.”
Tomorrow, we lock horns with a Portsmouth team who are just three places below us in the Sky Bet League Two table, and Westlake knows it is a very important game.
“They’re in and around us in the table so it’s an important game,” he continued. “We need to pick up points and climb up the table, because we don’t want to keep venturing down.
“Portsmouth can attract a lot of fans [to their games] so it’ll be a tough test for us, but also exciting.”
Westlake happy to be staying at Mansfield
Having extended his loan spell to the end of the season, Sheffield United defender Darryl Westlake is now looking forward to regular games and helping Mansfield Town move up League Two.
Ahead of the trip to Portsmouth, he said: “I am pleased to stay. My main reason for coming here was to get games and that’s what I have been doing, so I hope that carries on.
“It was a tough test over Christmas with all those games. But I now feel the fittest I have felt all season and I am feeling sharp.
“Against Scunthorpe last weekend we had a couple of early chances and, if we’d taken them, it would have been a different game. Then Hayes scored a great goal and it turned the game.
“We were all up for the game at the start and we were on top. But when a goal like that goes in, there isn’t much you can do. But we still dug deep and could have maybe got a point. We had a couple more chances but couldn’t take them.”
Now he is ready for today’s long coach journey down to Fratton Park to take on fellow strugglers Portsmouth tomorrow in a big ‘six-pointer’.
“This is an important game for us. We need to pick up points and get up that league,” he said.
“Exeter (the last away game - a tense 1-0 win) was a great game and all the lads dug deep. Hopefully we can do the same at Portsmouth.
“They will have a lot of fans there and it will be a tough test for us though it should be exciting.
“The league is very tight from top to bottom and we are only something like 12 points off the play-offs. We can’t keep looking over our shoulders. We need to focus on our game and go on another run.
“Since I have been here the games we have lost we should have got something out of and we don’t go into games fearing anyone.”
Latest | January 2014