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Cox: Club is building foundations

20 February 2014

Manager Paul Cox says that the club are building foundations for a solid future.

Our boss, who was speaking at his meeting with the local media earlier today, also believes our youth set-up is blossoming and is just one part of our long-term future.

On the pitch, Cox will be hoping that his team can bounce back from last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Oxford United – our first away loss this year – when we host Fleetwood Town on Saturday.

“At the minute we’re having a trial with Pro Zone, who cover every stat, and we out-passed one of the best footballing teams in the division [at Oxford],” said Cox. “But that’s all ‘pie in the sky’ because the score-line said 3-0.

“What I’ve said to the lads is that the performance was good. We’re getting to somewhere like where I want us to be, but our defending for the first goal and the third goal was poor.

“If we’re going to play well and not score, we need to make sure we defend well and come away with a clean-sheet, and these are the learning curves.

“This is our first season back in league football and some of the players that we’re coming up against are wiley old characters.”

Our boss continued: “For this football club, we need to take a look at what’s needed and really sit down and plan accordingly to make sure that when we take the next step, it’s the right one.

“Being successful in football is not just about having 11 good players. It’s about making sure the infrastructure of the club, right the way through, is good.

“I’ve said before that as a whole football club, we’re learning, but that’s going to take time and people have to be patient. A lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes to stabilise this club in League Two initially, and then to push on.

“We’re working very hard on the youth set-up and looking at bringing them through to the reserves and ultimately the first team, the off-field stuff is coming along with the training ground, and these are little things that we’re catching up on.”

Cox added: “We need the whole club heading in the same direction and the right direction. We’ve got 15 cup finals ahead of us and everyone is working really hard to maintain our Football League status.”

When asked if he may blood some younger players in the coming few weeks, our boss said: “It’s a fine line, because I don’t want to put too much pressure on some of these young players.  

“Some of the young kids have been playing for the reserves and some of them have been training in and around the first team and the way youth set-up is looking at the minute, we’ve got some excellent players coming up from the [Under 14s] upwards.

“We’ve also got a crop of 16 and 17 year-olds who I think are going to make this club very healthy in the future, but I’ve got the likes of Ollie Palmer who is 20, (Ryan) Tafazolli who is 22, already in the first team.

“What I don’t want to do is send [younger players] backwards by putting too much pressure on them.

“I’ve seen players with a lot of experience be in the position that we’re in, where anyone from 10th downwards is realistically in a relegation battle, and crumble a little bit.

“So we’ve got to look after the long-term effect of the kids. If I have to do it then I will, it’s not a problem, but you have to look after the kids’ welfare before others.”

Paul Cox’s full post-match interview will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.

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