Cox reflects on impressive 3-1 victory over Lincoln City last night.Manager Paul Cox believes our players are going from strength-to-strength ahead of the Sky Bet League Two season-opener at Northampton Town on Saturday 09 August.
Our team made it four wins from five pre-season matches with an impressive 3-1 success over Lincoln City at the Gelder Group Sincil Bank Stadium last night.
New signing Fergus Bell fired us ahead with a spectacular 30-yard thunderbolt on the half-hour mark, before Hamza Bencherif equalised for the Red Imps prior to the break.
However, another summer arrival, Liam Hearn, made a blistering impact after half-time with two goals in quick succession to continue his impressive pre-season.
“It was a great workout for us,” said Cox. “They asked loads of questions, probably some of which have not been asked in pre-season.
“Lincoln had a strong side and looking at that [performance] they’re going to be having a good season, but I was pleased with the way that we went about the game.
“You could say that we ground out another good result. There are different facets of our game that are improving, our fitness is getting better and the new players are learning all about us all the time.
“So I’m ‘over the moon’ with the night. That’s not saying that the win is irrelevant, but in a game with a [high] tempo and the physicality of it, we did very well.”
On Hearn, who has now scored four goals in three pre-season outings, our boss continued: “I’ve known him years and I know what he can do.
“Some people may have thought it was a gamble to bring him in, which it was in terms of the injury he had, but I know when the lad is playing he’ll score goals – it’s as simple as that.
“If someone scores one in two over 237 games, it’s not a fluke. What it gives to any team is just a natural finisher, and, as we saw, he was probably a little bit unlucky not to get a hat-trick.”
Cox added: “But it’s early days for him and all the team. We’re still coming together and trying to bed some of the new players in.
“There were some good strong performances and some of the ‘old guard’ are chucking the cat amongst the pigeons. I thought John Dempster was absolutely out of this world so there’s loads of competition.
“We get (Luke) Jones and (Sam) Clucas back for Saturday[‘s friendly with Walsall] and that’s when I think we’ll start and see the true us, because there’s competition for places and adding that little bit of quality to the squad will improve us.”
You can hear a full post-match interview with Paul Cox on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.