Craig Priest’s Mansfield Town blog: Character is needed to arrest slump in form

Lee Beevers of Mansfield Town (2L) clashes with Torquay United's Elliot Benyon (R) - Photo mandatory by-line: Dan Mullan/Pinnacle - Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 - Mobile:0797 1270 681 - VAT Reg No: 768 6958 48 - 19/10/2013 - SPORT - FOOTBALL - Sky Bet League Two - Torquay United v Mansfield Town, Plainmoor, Torquay, Devon.

Lee Beevers of Mansfield Town (2L) clashes with Torquay United's Elliot Benyon (R) - Photo mandatory by-line: Dan Mullan/Pinnacle - Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 - Mobile:0797 1270 681 - VAT Reg No: 768 6958 48 - 19/10/2013 - SPORT - FOOTBALL - Sky Bet League Two - Torquay United v Mansfield Town, Plainmoor, Torquay, Devon.

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I hate October, sun one minute before a torrential rain shower the next - fallen tree leaves getting stuck to your shoes and a sniffling cold which just refuses to shift.

The only glimmer of light in the month of misery is football, sadly our Stags are just not living up to our expectations.

Along with November, October is our worst month under Paul Cox statistically and this year has been no different with heavy defeat to Hartlepool and rivals Chesterfield in the cup followed by three negative draws - the latest of which came last night against manager-less Bury.

Following the game I’m feeling the slight tingle of crisis coming - skipper John Dempster’s straight red card see’s him absent until mid-November, whilst partner Martin Riley could also be absent for a while through injury.

If you add into the mix a potential suspension for left back James Jennings then Cox has a problem on his hands. Ritchie Sutton, Ryan Tafazolli, Paul Black and John McCombe are all potential replacements but if Cox ignores their presence or if one takes a knock then the small hole to plug becomes a huge gap to fill.

With recent results I feel it’s not just the defence where change should be forced, we need a character to stop the slump - it’s here where my brain thinks the name Andy Todd.

I’ve said since the summer that the player-coaches departure was the wrong call, both for the development of the club’s youngsters and for stuck in a rut times like now. The stats don’t lie, whenever our form has dipped over the previous two season’s, Todd has come into numerous positions and dragged us back on course.

Not for a second can you fault Todd for moving on to continue his playing career, one of the main factors in his departure was the fact he was only offered a coaching role, but you do have to wonder if small discrepancies like that will damage us now as we continue to slump after such a great start back in league football.

Cox now has big choices to make defensively - George Pilkington is out at Forest Green, does he get a recall? Liam Marsden has been working his socks off to progress through the youth set up and has established himself as a reserve team regular, does he get the golden chance to shine? he’s ready in my opinion, or does Cox dip his toe into the loan market - don’t even get me started on the lack of goals up front!

Ah well, October is a testing month so we’ll see what transpires, anything less than three points on Saturday however and I’d be reaching for my phone book saying “Mr Todd and Murray - standby”