Manage the pressure and you will go up says ex-Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox

Paul Cox.
Paul Cox.

Former Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox is backing his old club to achieve another promotion if they can handle the pressure well.

Cox, who steered Stags back into the Football League six years ago this weekend, is confident David Flitcroft’s men can complete the job as they go into their last four games in the third and final automatic promotion spot.

They did spill two points in last week’s 1-1 draw at Northampton, and now face monumental Easter tests at home to Morecambe on Good Friday and at Oldham Athletic on Easter Monday.

“It is now all about handling the pressure,” said Cox. “The manager will know he’s probably got the better run-in for the last four games than his rivals have.

“I would love to see them do it. I think the Radfords and the supporters deserve it for some of the times we went through when everything wasn’t as rosy or as sophisticated as the whole club is now.

“I think the manager would like to get it done before the final game of the season as that would be a real emotional rollercoaster.

“I think he and his assistant will get the boys focused. I think they will be very good about releasing that pressure. It will now be all about taking the pressure from the players and the whole club as everyone will become nervous.”

Cox said that nervousness was an inevitability, but believes two home wins will help ease it.

“Regardless of what anyone says, there is always an anxiety when you get to this stage of the season,” he said.

“That’s why the manager will want it done before the MK game if he can as, even though I think Mansfield will fill the away end and produce amazing noise throughout the game, there will still be that anxiety.

“The two home games are key. Getting six points from those games is key and, having been down there a few times this season, I think they are quite capable of beating Oldham away.

“I do believe also they are capable of beating MK Dons on their own patch.

“They have got their foot in there, even though it’s only be one point.”

On the coming weekend he added: “This Bank Holiday is very important. If they can pick up six points up over Easter – maybe even four – I think that, judging by other fixtures, that will open up a little gap. I certainly hope so.

“What we don’t want it for it to come down to that last game of the season and then anxiety sets in and the whole thing then becomes a lottery like the play-offs for me.

“All the hard work that’s been put in place this season - you don’t want to come down to a lottery of 90 minutes and players sometimes playing without the composure and mindset they have done all season due to an anxiety and nervousness coming into their game.”