video interview with Paul Cox ahead of the Darlington game --->
Stags look to bounce back against crisis club Darlington
chad.co.uk, Monday 20 February 2012
THE visit of crisis club Darlington offers Mansfield Town an ideal opportunity to bounce back from the weekend disappointment of a 1-0 defeat at Newport tomorrow night (7.45pm).
Players from the cash-strapped Quakers threatened to go on strike ahead of Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Alfreton Town.
But Paul Cox warned his side and fans not to simply expect three points to be there for the taking.
“If you talk about a must-win game then you disrespect the opposition,” he said. “Darlington are going through a financial crisis and fighting for their lives.
“Our preparation will be spot-on and we just have to forget who it is we are playing and put things right in our own pack.
“This is a great chance for us having three matches on home soil.
“We had our bellies tickled at Newport on Saturday and now we need to bounce back.
“A few harsh words were said. But they are an honest bunch and part of me felt sorry for them.
“We let ourselves down. But it was only our sixth league defeat all season. We know if we play like that again we will lose tomorrow.
“There is still a hell of a lot to play for. We can sit here and keep mulling over about Saturday and let it fester. But we are better off getting on with and putting it right tomorrow, We have 15 huge games to go.”
Defenders John Dempster and Paul Edwards' loan spells end after tomorrow and Cox, who has several irons in the fire, will examine his options after the Darlington game is out of the way
Mansfield Town boss Cox looks forward not back
Nottingham Post, Tuesday, February 21, 2012
THERE was no disguising Paul Cox's annoyance at the weekend. He was not happy with his troops and made that plainly obvious.
But the Mansfield Town boss is not one to lament for too long what might have been, nor linger on what has gone and cannot be changed.
So while he admitted to 'sitting on his own and sulking' on the way home from Saturday's 1-0 defeat against Newport, he is keen not to dwell on it.
Instead, Cox is already looking to the future and what he can still influence – namely the club's remaining fixtures in their 2011-12 campaign.
The manager is pleased that Mansfield have an immediate chance to bounce back when they host crisis club Darlington at Field Mill tonight.
It is the first of three consecutive home matches that realistically needs to see the Stags make a move if they are to challenge for a Blue Square Bet Premier play-off place.
The Stags are currently six points off fifth place with two games in hand on the team currently occupying that position, Liam Watson's Southport.
Cox is bullish his team will hit back strongly after failing to produce anything like their best in South Wales.
"I felt for the players in a way on Saturday, because they don't deliberately go out and play as poorly as they did," said Cox.
"They are a decent set of lads. There have been a few egos bruised and they know they personally let themselves down.
"No-one could tell me that we weren't poor at Newport. No-one came out with any credit.
"But they are a good, honest bunch and will want to respond in the right way – and there is no better time for that than tonight.
"They were upset (at Newport) as I was and the supporters were, but I'm hoping performances like that are not going to happen again between now and the end of the season.
"We need to dust ourselves down because we have 15 more league games to go and, as I have said before, there will be lots of twists and turns."
Darlington's fans are in the process of trying to rescue the club and have already raised £170,000 towards the £750,000 target that will aid their survival bid.
On Friday, the players were told they will not receive owed wages until the club comes out of administration.
In the meantime, those taking the field have been told they are to be paid £200, which brought an angry reaction and almost saw a walk-out for their game at Alfreton.
In the end, the Quakers did travel and were beaten 3-1.
But Cox knows the Stags cannot afford to worry about their opponents, given their own need for points.
He said: "I wouldn't say three points from each of our three home games is a must as long as we meet the targets we have set ourselves.
"Darlington face some financial challenges and will be fighting for their lives.
"But this is a great chance at home in front of our supporters and where we seemed to have been comfortable of late.
"However, if we perform like we did on Saturday then we won't win another game all season, so there has to be an improvement."
John Thompson is unlikely to play in Mansfield's hat-trick of games in front of their own fans as he is expected to undergo a third week of rehabilitation at Lilleshall next week.
That increases the need for Cox to bring in a central defender on an emergency loan as John Dempster is set to play the final game of his temporary spell from Crawley.
"They want to work with John in a structured environment to make sure his shoulder doesn't break down again," said Cox.
"Thommo must think he ran over quite a lot of black cats in the summer with the bad luck he has had.
"It would be nice to have him back but at this moment if we threw him in he would be a million miles off the pace.
"We are looking to get someone in. We are talking to a number of people.
"We have talked to Guy Branston but he doesn't want to drop down but there is Exodus (Geohaghon) and others as well.
"There is also the loan spell of Paul Edwards to consider and I will talk to him and Fleetwood about whether we extend it. We will get this game out of the way and then re-assess where we are
Stags defender Dempster expects Darlington fight
Nottingham Post, Tuesday, February 21, 2012
MANSFIELD Town defender John Dempster believes tonight's opponents Darlington will prove hard to beat because their team will be 'playing for their livelihoods.'
The Quakers have suffered well-publicised financial problems that has seen them put into administration.
Their players are owed money dating back to November and are receiving only £200 per game until the crisis is over, with fans bidding to raise £750,000.
Against such a backdrop, Mansfield will be expected to record their eighth home victory of the campaign with some comfort.
But Dempster, set to play the final game of his loan spell from Crawley, said: "No-one likes to see any club struggling as Darlington have, but I'm sure they will still be doing their utmost to beat us.
"It's horrible for their players and I think they have shown a great attitude and done well to do as well as they have.
"It is going to be tough because their squad will be thinking if they play well then scouts could be watching and it could have a positive affect on their futures.
"They are playing for their livelihoods and that will make them run that extra yard.
"We have to be prepared for that and be ruthless. People might expect us to be 5-0 up at half-time, but it doesn't work out like that.
"We would just be happy with a 1-0 win."
Dempster believes the plight of the Quakers, that of his former club Kettering and other teams highlights the need for clubs to clean up their act financially.
"I think a lot of owners and chairman need to be a little more responsible with sticking to their budgets," he said.
"If you have a successful season then great but it's a dangerous game to predict that you are going to be successful and budget on that basis."
Spotlight on Mansfield Town v Darlington
Nottingham Post, Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Redmond, O'Neill, Sutton, Riley, Dempster, Edwards, Murray, Roberts, Hutchinson, Howell, Dyer, Briscoe, Green, Smith, Meikle, Rhead, Worthington, Stevenson.
Darlington (from): Pickford, Brown, Ferguson, Arnison, Ramshaw, Hopson, Rundle, Keltie, Lambert, Taylor, Bridge-Wilkinson, McReady, Harrison, Bowman, Nixon, Bagnall.
Team news: Louis Briscoe (back) could be back in contention after sitting out the game at Newport.
But Sam Craven (groin) and Matt Bell (ankle) are both expected to be five to seven day away from returning to training while John Thompson (shoulder) is still a way off.
Paul Arnison returned to the Darlington side for their 3-1 weekend defeat at Alfreton having previously been out with a calf injury.
The Quakers hope to extend the loan spell of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland.
One to watch: Adam Rundle. The former Mansfield winger has played 26 games for the Quakers this season, scoring three goals.
Manager. Craig Liddle. The interim boss faces a battle to keep Darlington in the Blue Square Bet Premier, given limited resources and the non-payment of players that is likely to have hit morale
Latest | February 2012