Players and fans told to relax and enjoy Mansfield Town’s title battle

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Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox has told his players and supporters to relax and enjoy the big finale to the season as his title-chasers face three huge games in six days over Easter.

Stags travel to Tamworth on Saturday before facing Gateshead at home on Monday and then head off to Wales for the big showdown with title rivals Wrexham on Thursday.

But Cox is concerned that his players don’t let anxiety spoil their enjoyment of the big eight-game run-in, and he wants supporters to relax and enjoy it too.

“There was a bit of anxiety out there on Tuesday, everyone was perhaps trying too hard,” said Cox. “I told them at half-time to just enjoy it and they only needed to win 1-0.

“There is no pressure. We could be fifth from bottom. Everyone up to 14th could get dragged into a relegation battle. That’s when you worry and become anxious.

“We are looking at a chance to become champions and I don’t see any pressure in that. You have got to enjoy it. Chasing a title is a part of the game that is enjoyable.

“I want fans to come down, have a drink and scream their hearts out and enjoy it. If we don’t win the championship, then we get a second bite of the cherry and go into the play-offs. If we don’t win those we dust ourselves down and go again next year. Let’s not worry about failure.

He added: We are building good foundations here and we have a great chairman and good die-hard supporters who want us to succeed. We are also putting in a good infrastructure with the youth set-up.”

Stags fans will probably outnumber home supporters in Saturday’s all-ticket clash at The Lamb and Cox said: “Our supporters can send shivers down your spines sometimes. They don’t realise what a positive effect they can have on the lads.

“I know Dale (manager Belford) very well and he’s done a good job down there. They have Adam Cunnington up there among the top scorers and I know Tom Marshall well as he’s played for me in the past.

“It won’t be easy, but the support we are taking with us will be brilliant for the lads.”

With only one win in their last six games, 15th-placed Tamworth are still not clear of the relegation battle, but showed their spirit with a fine 0-0 draw at Luton Town last weekend.

On Monday, visitors to the One Call Stadium will be 19th -placed Gateshead, who are without a home ground right now and with only one win in five, are also in the thick of the relegation battle.