Adam Reid ‘Defence the key to success?’
Goals were rarely a problem for Mansfield last season after finishing in the top 10 for goals scored in the English leagues last season with 87 goals, however far too many were conceded last season.
After the horrific injuries to Martin Riley, Ritchie Sutton and John Thompson in pre-season Mansfield failed to keep a clean sheet until the end of August.
Ben Futcher, Nick Wood, John Dempster, Kieron Freeman, Paul Edwards and Exodus Geohagon, were all brought in on loan to try and solve the continued issues at the back. While many were fantastic signings they were never our players.
Cox has certainly not let the loss of Exodus, Riley and Luke O’Neill effect our chances, with Lee Beevers. George Pilkington, Luke Jones, Andy Owens, Dempster and not to mention the return to fitness of Thompson we have on paper a defence far stronger than anything we had last season.
With Andy Owens Cox also looks to have replaced the long throw while solving our long standing issue at left back. Having seen him for the first time against Derby he looks to have great ability on the ball and pace, but also looks more than comfortable at the back. Hopefully he can make up for the loss of assists from O’neill.
I still can’t quite believe we managed to snatch George Pilkington away from Luton, who for me has always been the best center back in the division. Luke Jones was fantastic alongside him last night, with Pilkington not being the tallest Jones height made him a suitable partner.
So far the defence has conceded only one goal in pre-season and the team has yet to suffer a defeat, though it is hard to predict who will be in that starting line-up come August with such strength in depth.