Mansfield Town back down to earth as they prepare for trip to Hyde
WHAT a difference a fortnight makes.
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox faced the downside of management at Matlock Town, when his side lost out to a last-gasp goal in the FA Trophy, as a few angry Stags fans jumped on the visiting dugout, making their displeasure known to Cox.
Then, just two weeks later, the Mansfield fans came racing onto the pitch at the One Call Stadium, this time hugging the players and manager, after victory against Lincoln set up a dream third round FA Cup tie against Liverpool on home soil, a fixture that sold out yesterday.
But, with nine days now gone since that night and with no game last weekend, Cox says everything has levelled itself out in north Nottinghamshire.
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The players were given a couple of days off to celebrate at the end of last week and got stuck into a few beers and extra food.
But it has been business as usual this week and Cox has made it clear that the league is the priority, with four tough games coming up before they face Liverpool.
It starts with a trip to Hyde tomorrow before two games with Alfreton, which sandwich a home game with Grimsby over the festive period.
Cox said: "We have some massive games coming up, starting with Hyde.
"The lads have had a couple of days off and they had an invite to the chairman's Christmas do and had a few mince pies and sherries.
"The days off for the lads were a reward for what they had done but Liverpool is done now until January 6.
"After that little break, with no game last weekend, it was back to the hard work.
"The break from action gave them a little bit of time to level out but there is a real positivity about the place now.
"We all knew there was a lot of pressure on us to get through and set up this tie and they did the job. Now it is about being focused and concentrating on the league."
The Stags are ten points off the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier with two games in hand on leaders Newport and four points off the play-offs.
Because of FA Cup and FA Trophy commitments, remarkably they have played just one league fixture in just over four weeks, beating Ebbsfleet 4-1 at home.
The Stags have lost just once in their last 11 matches in all competitions, and that was in the FA Trophy replay at Matlock Town.
In the league, they have won their last two games and Cox wants them to make that a hat-trick tomorrow.
"Hyde have had some great results of late and have a lad up front who is near the top of the scoring charts so we have to be properly focused," said Cox.
"I am not going to tolerate people looking beyond these league games. If players want to relax and think the Liverpool game is there for them, they will be straight out in the cold.
"We have got into the right mind-set building up to these games because there are 12 points to play for that can make a big, big difference.
"The lads are back down to earth now and ready to go to Hyde."