Paul Cox calls on Mansfield Town to keep up standards against Portsmouth

The celebrations begin as Ollie Palmer (centre) and his teammates celebrate after Palmer nets the winning goal.

The celebrations begin as Ollie Palmer (centre) and his teammates celebrate after Palmer nets the winning goal.

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Boss Paul Cox says his Mansfield Town players must maintain the high standards set during Saturday’s impressive 1-0 win at Wycombe.

Cox made the call for consistency as Stags prepare for the visit of fallen Premier League giants Portsmouth on Saturday.

Mansfield have already picked up four points in their first three games back in the Football League and sit 13th in the early table following two very encouraging performances against Exeter City and Wycombe.

Now the focused manager is challenging his side to maintain those standards and put a consistent run of form together.

“One or two players have set standards on Saturday and I will be pushing them to maintain those standards,” said Cox.

“Getting our first win, especially away, was important. The sooner you get your first win in the season the better.

“The way the players celebrated the goal just showed what it meant to them. Some of the lads ran 60 yards to celebrate, it was great to see.

“We have got some good young players at this club and the future is looking good. I will be looking for consistency on Saturday and for those that played well against Wycombe to do the same again.

“The players understand me and what I want and I understand them. As the season develops players will come into their own, but it is consistency that wins thing and that is what we need to try and achieve.

“It is nice to have Ollie, Clucas, Rheady and big Calvin battling it out for two places, it gives me plenty of food for thought.

“Football is about squads and how good your squad is. It was a big decision to leave out certain players on Saturday and have people like Louis Briscoe and Lindon Meikle on the bench.

“It is important that we do not put too much pressure on our young players and that we look after them.

“Players that are on our bench still have a big part to play and I have spoken to these players individually.”

Mansfield go in search of their first home goal and win on Saturday in front of what is likely to be a bumper crowd.

But Cox says that, despite the high-profile opposition, Stags will prepare for the game no differently.

“Portsmouth is a big game, but they are all big games in the Football League,” added Cox.

“They are a club with great history and a big fan-base, but we are going to treat it like any other game. Once this game is out of the way we will prepare for Dagenham in just the same way.

“Playing Portsmouth is a great game for the fans and only adds to the buzz around the place. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to see how far we have progressed over the last two seasons.

Portsmouth lifted the FA Cup in 2008 after beating Cardiff City 1-0, before losing the 2010 final against Chelsea thanks to a single Didier Drogba goal.

It sparked the beginning of a downward spiral for big-spending Pompey, with the club being relegated from the Premier League to League Two after entering administration on a number of times.