Influential Stags skipper and assistant manager Adam Murray could be back in line for a place for Mansfield Town’s tough home clash with in-form Burton Albion tomorrow (3pm).
With speculation over a move to Chesterfield for Sam Clucas ended, the 23-year-old winger and top scorer could also find himself in a side needing a boost after last weekend’s 2-0 flop at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Midfielder Murray has shaken off a back strain and looks ready to rejoin the side for what looks a very difficult game against the fourth-placed Brewers, who have taken 10 points from their first four League games and knocked Wigan Athletic and Queens Park Rangers out of the Capital One Cup.
Cox was disappointed with his side’s surrender at Dagenham, despite the threadbare squad he had at his disposal.
He said: “One or two players were a bit fatigued but my hands are tied over making changes with being short on bodies. The boys don’t deliberately go out there to lose. But we did look lethargic.
“On the positive side we have won two of the first four games after everyone was saying it looked like an incredibly hard start to the season.
“We will be working on getting their minds right again and, more than anything, getting their bodies right again. Hopefully we will clear up a few more knocks and bruises.
“We have lost a football match so no one is happy. But, if you do lose, there are ways to lose a game and that wasn’t us on Saturday.
“I can probably count on one hand the number of times we’ve put in that sort of performance since I’ve been here.
“Sometimes you just have to drive on through this scenario and I don’t want to make any excuses. We have a good group of players. I just don’t want our lack of bodies to catch up on us. Once we get some bodies back I know will will be decent.”
On the Brewers, he added: “Burton are a good side with a good squad of players. They have kept the nucleus from last year and added some quality to it.
“They deserved to beat Wigan and QPR and, make no bones about it, they are going to be up there this season. They are ones to watch. Burton are heavily fancied and rightly so. Both games with them were very tight last year.”
Stags were beaten by a late goal at Burton last season with a 0-0 home draw between the sides at One Call Stadium.
Cox confirmed that the cash-strapped Stags would not be making any more signings before Monday’s transfer window, despite the current squad size.
He said: “No new players will be coming in, though we are running the rule and had some players down for the behind-closed-doors friendly the other day, some of whom were excellent.
“It’s something we’ve got to deal with and we may have to bring or or two of the kids through, though we have to make sure we don’t kill them by bringing them through too early.”
But, despite the current situation, Cox has lost none of his ambition, saying: “I want to win the league – simple as that. I have that desire and I will never lose it.
“At the start of the season I said this will be my hardest season yet. Sometimes you need the right tools and, with our squad size as it is now, we are going to have to be more patient than other clubs and build.”
One player still struggling to make a return is centre half Luke Jones, though he could be involved at Notts County for Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie if he continues to improve over the weekend.
“Luke went for a second scan and it showed nothing serious – just a bit of tendonitis still in there.
“It is a massive frustration not having him available as he is excellent in both boxes and can weigh in with a goal. Luke was one of our marquee signings this summer.”