Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox tonight said he wants to keep hold of top scorer Sam Clucas amid reports that other clubs are set to table a bid before the January transfer window closes.
Clucas, who made a lively contribution when coming on as a sub after a lengthy injury lay-off in today’s battling 2-2 draw with visitors Wycombe Wanderers, is said to be attracting interest from a Championship club.
But Cox said: “I would love to keep Sam here and I hope the club wants to keep him here.
“You could see today when he came on that he gives us that extra bit of quality.
“If we want to progress as a club we need to hold onto our best players.
“The speculation about him is just speculation until another manager rings me and puts in an offer for Sam. If he goes, it is going to cost someone a hell of a lot of money.”
Cox is still trying to bring in a striker and said: “I am working my socks off to make deals happen.
“Everyone knows the quality of the players we are looking at.”
This afternoon, in dreadful conditions of mud, wind and heavy rain, Stags fought back well from 2-0 down to earn a deserved draw, Lee Stevenson putting them back in the game and sub Ollie Palmer bagging an 86th minute equaliser.
“That was reminiscent of last season when teams came down here and got men behind the ball,” said Cox. “We were so on top and playing on the front foot from start to finish.
“That was probably the most one-sided game I’ve never won.
“I thought their first goal was a miskick and it killed us as the momentum we were creating was incredible.
“But the boys have done something today, they’ve got over a hurdle. From 2-0 down, instead of shrinking, we have grown in stature.
“That’s only one defeat in six now and we are building a bit of momentum. We now need to carry this on when we play Bury on Tuesday and use it as a building block.
“The players’ mindset is back in that dressing room and I must say a massive thank you to the supporters. The majority today really got behind the boys and really gave them a boost and deserve a massive pat on the back.”
Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth said: “I thought we could have got more out of the game.
“We had a couple of the better chances if I’m honest and we could have won it right at the end. They just seemed to lump the ball into our box and get bits off it.
“I do feel a little bit down. But I am proud of my boys as they ran themselves into the ground.
“The conditions were horrendous with the wind in our faces and they brought a lot of big lads on.
“Their equaliser came off the bar and we didn’t react as quickly as Ollie Palmer. We have to react quicker than that. It’s that second phase that kills us. If it was down to a bit of tiredness that I will address that.
“I was pleased with the performances of the new signings which was a real positive today. They looked like they wanted to play for Wycombe Wanderers which I can work with.
“We scored two superb goals, Stuart Lewis has been working hard on his finishing and deserved that and Josh Scowen ghosted in well to score a superb volley.
“When you go 2-0 up and score twice away from home you expect to win a game. But they really came at us in that second half and rammed everything down our throats and then we conceded at the death.
“I was disappointed with their first goal as we didn’t clear our lines and someone has put their hand up and taken the blame.
“If we had held onto our 2-0 lead a bit longer then I think panic would have set in. So to pull one back quickly was a big boost for Mansfield and 2-1 is always a dodgy score away from home.”