Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox insists that he will play the strongest side possible against Notts County in the Johnstones Paint Trophy first round.
The game at Meadow Lane tomorrow night (k.o. 7.45pm) could be seen as the chance to give some of the fringe players a chance, but Cox doesn’t see it as a case of experimentation.
Speaking at this morning's press meeting, he said: “We had 18 fit players on Saturday so there’s not a lot of experimenting we can actually do. I want to put the strongest side out to try and win the game. The two games we’ve had, for different reasons, have resulted in us losing two games so we want to get 'back on the horse' as quick as possible and win our next game.”
The gaffer enjoyed a six-year spell at Notts County as a player, and is looking forward to making a return to Meadow Lane with the Stags: “I spent some really good years there from an apprentice all the way through [to the first team]. I was getting called out of school to play for the reserves and the youth team. As a schoolboy it’s a place where I've got a lot of fond memories and I always look for their result, but tomorrow night I’m the Mansfield Town manager and I have to be professional and try and do my job to win a football match.”
In addition, Cox said: “It’ll be a tough game, it’ll be a competitive game and it’s a local derby. Our fans will want to have the bragging rights, as will Notts County’s. Whether it’s a pre season friendly, cup game or league game any local derby is going to be full of passion and commitment and I don’t want anything less than that from my players.”
Transfer deadline day is always a busy day at any football club and Mansfield Town is no different. Although Paul Cox doesn’t expect anything to happen, he admits that you can never be completely certain. He said: “I'm expecting the phone to ring. I want to make calls but whether anything’s done and whether there are any incomings or outgoings will be purely down to the time span. Anything can happen, so it’s just time to sit and wait.”
“I'm working hard. I'm always speaking to agents, I’m always speaking to clubs to try and improve the squad. If that can be done today then absolutely brilliant but I think the squad needs adding to in general. I think we’re a bit threadbare at the minute, in terms of injuries and suspensions.
Cox has had some good news in terms of injuries, with John Dempster’s groin problem not as bad as first feared. The gaffer said: “It looks like Demps is good news, it’s not a hernia. That’ll take between five to seven days to get really get him back on his feet. Jonah [Luke Jones] is having an injection today so he’s seven days away and obviously Hearnsy is the major one.”
“We won’t know until we get the list from the physio today exactly what we’ve got from Saturday. Hopefully we’re alright and we’ve got no more injuries because at this minute we can’t afford to have anymore.”
Hear more from Paul Cox on Stags Player.