Cox orders lacklustre Stags to end season on a high

Stags boss Paul Cox has ordered his side to end the season on a high as they head for Bristol Rovers on Saturday for their final game in which they could end up relegating the Pirates.
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox -Pic by: Richard ParkesMansfield Town manager Paul Cox -Pic by: Richard Parkes
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Cox is still fuming from two tame end-of-season home defeats last week and knows Rovers, now managed by ex-Stag Darrell Clarke, still need a point to be sure of League Two safety so will be going at them full pelt on Saturday.

“I will pick a side that has a desire to finish off the season well, individually and collectively,” he said. “The last two performances will not be tolerated at this football club.

“I am not bothered when people tell me we have had a good season for our first season back in the League and where we will finish has been a decent achievement.

“I am looking for a massive response on Saturday. The close season is a long, long time when you’ve lost your last game, never mind your last three.

“It is really important we finish the season well. I have spoken to a number of supporters and they are travelling in their numbers in fancy dress and there should be a great atmosphere.

“We owe it to them and to the rest of the League to put in a very good performance as, obviously, there is still a battle on against relegation.

“For me it’s about personal pride. It is a competitive game and I want to win in – simple as.”

Cox will then complete his retained list which will be announced on Tuesday morning.

“The process has been throughout the season, looking at who can take the club forward,” he said. “There is still a game to go and I’ve not closed the door on anybody yet.

“But those decisions are round the corner and some of them will be tough ones. I don’t want to take away their focus for Saturday, but during the weekend and early next week I will get them sat down and sort documents to confirm where they are playing next season.”

On potential new faces, he added: “It is frightening this year. I have been compiling information from agents and clubs over the last month and will be a lot of footballers out of work this summer. But I won’t rush into anything. I will be patient and make sure we get the right players.”

After such a miserable week, Cox at least had a smile put back on his face when statistician Martin Shaw, of the Stags Supporters’ Association, released figures that showed Cox to have the second best winning record as a Mansfield Town manager behind Freddie Steele since the club entered league football.

Steele had a winning record of 50.9 per cent with Cox, who recently passed the 150 competitive games mark in charge, only just behind on 50.4 per cent.

Peter Morris only managed 45.2 per cent in fourth, Dave Smith 44 per cent in fifth, and club legend Ian Greaves was well down the list with only 33.2 per cent.

Cox said: “That has made me a very proud man. You look at names like Dave Smith and Peter Morris, who I played under, and there have been some excellent managers who have managed this football club.

“Knowing the tradition of this club and the history of it, to be second since the club came into the League has made me immensely proud. It gives me something to hold onto and something to progress from.”

Stags will welcome back Darryl Westlake from a hamstring injury for Saturday, but Ryan Tafazolli will again miss out with the hip injury sustained in a training ground challenge with Matt Rhead, who is suspended after last Saturday’s red card.