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Duo could return for Pompey clash

16 January 2014

Manager Paul Cox has revealed that Martin Riley and Jamie McGuire are both likely to be included in our matchday squad for our weekend trip to Portsmouth.

McGuire, 30, hasn’t figured since he suffered a groin injury in our 2-1 win at Cheltenham Town, whilst Riley, 27, last featured in our New Year’s Day draw with Burton Albion.

Meanwhile, frontman Sam Clucas is also close to making a comeback, but Ben Hutchinson has suffered a slight setback with his recovery from a hamstring injury.

“’Riles’ and ‘Jammo’ will probably be added to the squad, depending on any aches and pains [they may get after today’s training session,” said Cox.

He added: “’Clukes’ might be between seven and 10 days away, but ‘Hutch’ has had a little bit of a setback. If you look at them two, it’s two quality players that have been missing from our squad.

“It’ll be nice to have a full squad back and end the season on a real positive note.” 

Our team make the 198-mile trip to Fratton Park on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to table-toppers Scunthorpe United, but we have emerged victorious from our last two away matches in Sky Bet League Two.

Cox continued: “Our away record is not bad. We’ve gone to some tough places and not just performed well, but got really good results.

“Travelling holds no fear for the boys, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that it’s our home form what needs to improve.

“Just looking at the table of late, everyone from the bottom up to about 10th [position] is more or less involved in a relegation battle.

“I think something like eight points separate [teams in the relegation zone] from 10th [position] and it just shows you what a tough but even league this is.

“It is fine lines between winning and losing football matches and we’ve got two very tough games ahead of us.”

When asked about the club’s search for new players, Cox replied: “I’d like to strengthen the squad, but there are situations we have to adhere to and I have to work to budgets, etcetera.

“I’d like to bring at least one [player] in, maybe even more, and we’ve been working really hard, covering lots of ground across the country to watch players.

“We’ve got numerous portfolios of players, who I’ve either watched myself or got my staff to watch so we’ve got our targets, but that’s only the easy part.

“The hard part is convincing players to come here, because ultimately, they’ve got to be better than what we’ve already got, but I’d like to think though that if we’re given the go ahead, we can bring [a player] in.”

He added: “I’ll openly admit that the squad needs strengthening and we’ve known that for a vast period of time.

“It’s not a panic at the minute. We’ve got plenty of time left before the end of January, but for me personally the sooner we can get someone in, the better it will be for the squad.”

Paul Cox's full press meeting will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.

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