Time to close in on leading pack – Cox
IT IS hard to believe that today's game with Ebbslfeet is Mansfield Town's only league match in the space of a month.
After beginning to gain some momentum with an impressive performance in the draw with Luton followed by a 3-0 win at Macclesfield 48 hours later, they have been stopped in their tracks.
Two games with Matlock followed in the FA Trophy, the Stags exiting in the first round replay and then last week, they drew 3-3 with Lincoln in the FA Cup.
A replay awaits next Wednesday with the winners meeting Liverpool in the third round while next weekend, Paul Cox's men are without a game because of their early exit from the Trophy.
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So, their last Blue Square Bet Premier outing was on November 20 and their next, after today, is away to Hyde on Saturday December 22. It makes the need to pick up three points even greater.
And while not ideal, Cox insists all focus has to be on today's game at the One Call Stadium.
He said: "The FA Trophy came at the wrong time. We wanted league games because against Luton, we deserved to win and then went to Macclesfield and were excellent.
"We have some catch-up with games but automatic promotion is a realistic ambition for a lot of clubs. We want to be in the pack that is chasing promotion so we have to pick up consistent results. We have this game and we need the points.
"The razzmatazz games are brilliant but it is the league that is the bread and butter."
A big crowd is expected for the replay next week but Cox hopes the Stags faithful get right behind the team today, as they look to build into the cup game with a victory. They sit ninth in the table, four points off the play-offs and ten points behind leaders Newport.
"I said from the first minute I walked into here that the supporters will have a major say in how successful we will be," said Cox. "High expectation leads to anxiety on the pitch and when footballers are playing with anxiety and stress, it is not a good thing.
"At Lincoln the supporters were amazing and it was like playing at home.
"If they are positive, the energy they create in this stadium is immense"
Supporters who purchase a ticket for the home matches against Lincoln City next Wednesday and Alfreton Town on Boxing Day will be given 'third priority' to buy tickets against Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup, should the Stags overcome the Imps in the replay. Season-ticket holders get first priority, SSA members second priority.