JENNINGS & RILEY TO PLAY IN RESERVE GAME TODAY
Cox: 50-plus points is Stags’ survival target
Paul Cox has set his Mansfield Town players a points target in the early 50s to ensure their League Two survival this season.
The Stags sit 20th in the table with 12 games left to play, six points above the drop zone, but having played a game more than the four teams below them.
Last season, Barnet went down to the Conference with an unusually high tally of 51 points.
With teams tightly bunched this time around, another high total is likely to be needed to guarantee Football League status and manager Cox does not want to take any chances.
“Any manager who says they do not look at the league table and look at the possible permutations is lying,” he said.
“I have heard one or two managers this week say 50 points will be fine and have set themselves that target.
“There is a massive race among clubs to get to 52 or 54 points to be absolutely sure, and we are no different.
“We have a decent little run-in, and we’ve only lost three in our last 12, but that’s not saying it is easier than the others.
“The league changes shape all the time and there is always a side who makes a run to get out of it and one or two who get dragged into it with six or seven games to go.
“We can only concentrate on picking up maximum points in the three games coming up we have in quick succession.”
Defenders Martin Riley and James Jennings are back in training and were due to play in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Alfreton tonight.
If they come through unscathed, both will be in contention for the upcoming home double header against Newport County on Saturday (3pm) and York City on Tuesday night (7.45pm), which precedes a visit to fellow strugglers Northampton Town.
Cox said: “It would be a massive boost to get those two back. JJ was playing some of his best football of the season when he got injured and we all know what Riles can do.”
The Mansfield boss has come under fire from some fans for signing Michael Cain on loan from Leicester City and then limiting him to just one substitute appearance in three games.
“I can understand people taking about that, but is just circumstances, said Cox. “He will get a run out while he’s here, that’s not a problem.
“We have numerous games coming up. If we didn’t sign anyone them we had a spate of injuries, and we were not able to fill the bench, then people would be complaining.”
No Stags contract talks until end of season
Mansfield Town will not open any player contract negotiations until their 2013-14 fate has been decided.
The deals of the vast majority of the Stags squad run out in the summer.
Although a clear-out by boss Paul Cox seems likely, there are sure to be some he wished to retain.
However, the precarious 20th position in League Two Mansfield find themselves in means early talks are unlikely.
Just like last season - when the Stags were fighting for promotion the Conference - the club first need to be 100 per cent clear on what division they will be playing in.
”We have to sort out where we are going to be before we can sit down and work out what budget we are going to have to play with,” said Cox.
“That, in turn means, it’s too early to look at deciding the future of players too.
“We never seem to do things the easy way one way or another. Last season we didn’t have the luxury with players’ contracts either because we were fighting for promotion.
“But the fact is we have to respect all the teams around us and give the run-in our full attention with no distractions.”
Meanwhile, Cox admitted he is unsure if Jake Speight will be able to figure again this season.
The striker has encountered persistent knee problems at a time when Mansfield have been crying out for firepower up front.
He said: “It all depends on the player. Sometimes we can get two days out of Jake, but can’t get a third. It’s been frustrating because we have needed a natural goalscorer - and he is one.
“It’s been a frustrating season, not just for Jake but for ourselves.”
4 March 2014
twitter StephenThirkill @StephenThirkill
Paul Cox believes Mansfield Town will need to get a points tally in the 'early 50's to be safe from relegation this year #stags
James Jennings and Martin Riley will play in a reserve game for Mansfield Town today as they move nearer to first team return #stags
Laser tag builds team togetherness
mansfieldtown.net, 4th March 2014
Manager Paul Cox believes that yesterday's visit to Laser Tag will help to strengthen our squad’s togetherness in the closing stages of the Sky Bet League Two campaign.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/laser-tag-builds-team-togetherness-1397509.aspx?#iFoh1Iv5vMRyUbL1.99
Our players visited Laser Tag (formerly The Village nightclub) on Midworth Street, for a fun-filled afternoon of team-bonding.
“The lads are working extremely hard and I wanted to re-iterate the team ethic that we’ve got,” explained our boss. “We did a similar thing at the end of last season, so the lads came in and trained and then we took them to laser quest.
“They had a really good time and there were a few jokes flying around, etcetera, so I think they really enjoyed it.”
“The emphasis was on team-work with a little bit of light-heartedness and banter to take their minds away from the remainder of the season.”
Latest | March 2014