Mansfield Town look to kick-start away form at rock-bottom Nuneaton
IF ever there was a chance for Mansfield Town to kick-start their season – and their away form – tonight is it.
Away from home in the Blue Square Bet Premier, they have shipped 21 goals in seven games, winning just once.
It is the reason they are languishing in 14th place in the table, an indifferent beginning to cause frustration among the Stags fans.
But manager Paul Cox said it has reached the point where his squad must stand up to the task in hand and get back to being difficult to beat on their travels.
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And against the league's bottom side, Nuneaton, they have the perfect chance to put it right.
After last season's third-placed finish, losing out in the play-offs, he almost senses some of his players are buying into their pre-season hype and therefore falling short under the weight of expectation.
But he said that can no longer happen, a goalless draw against Slough Town in the FA Cup at the weekend another case in point as the Stags failed to find a breakthrough against a club from three tiers below them.
Tonight, at Nuneaton, they have a great opportunity to get back on track, their opponents winning just twice from 16 games this season.
A home match with Southport follows on Saturday and Cox said: "We have two important league games and that is what I solely want to concentrate on now, the FA Cup is not on our mind until the game comes around.
"We now have two games in hand on some above us and there is not much of a gap.
"We want to put the away form right and if we show the same application and desire as we did in the second half on Saturday, when we had wave after wave of attacks without scoring, we will win more games than we lose.
"If we are lacklustre and look like we are going through the motions, it will be the same old story.
"There needs to be a reaction now and I am hoping we take that second-half performance from Saturday into the game at Nuneaton.
"I am not fearful of going away, it is not football you have to be fearful of. Players now have to step up to the plate and there are still 90 points to play for and we have had an up and down start to the season and need to step up to the mantle."
Cox said he has chopped and changed away from home in order to find a winning formula.
And he might do the same again tonight, after making seven changes at the weekend.
"We have changed our approach, it is not the same old thing every time," he said.
"We have looked at different approaches, different formations but it is down to the players understanding we have to earn the right to bring a good result back.
"If we do that and lose a bit of ego, we will do that.
"Nuneaton were winning at Luton until seven minutes to go and it just shows you the strength of this league, from top to bottom.
"It is another team that have strengths but they have weaknesses. We have to go there and if we approach it right, get our heads right, we can come away with a positive result."
Mansfield's home match against Luton Town has been rescheduled for Saturday November 17 (3pm).
The game was supposed to be played on Thursday, November 15 and shown live on Premier Sports TV, but has been re-arranged due to both clubs playing an FA Cup first round replay on Tuesday November 13.