Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox was full of praise for his captain fantastic, assistant manager Adam Murray, for his inspirational display in today 1-0 win over AFC Telford.
Murray, who took a nasty kick at Luton last weekend, was in the wars again as Karlton Watson’s nasty challenge earned the Telford man a red card and left Murray in agony. But he battled on to win another man of the match award.
Cox said: “Adam Murray deserves a special mention today. When you need your captain to step forward and a be inspirational, it was one of those days today.
“The sending-off looked a bad tackle – but thankfully it was on his wooden leg! Adam is made of steel. He has had more injections than a dartboard since I came here, bless him.
“As well as playing very well himself, I need his presence out there to gee the lads up when we need it.”
On the overall performance, Cox added: “I personally didn’t think we were at the races in terms of what we are capable of. But these are hard games against a team fighting for their lives. They are down there and everything is against them at the minute.
“They came here and set up and we had to be patient just to score a goal.
“When we hit the woodwork four times in the first half I thought it was going to be one of those days.
“But we have won a game so I am not going to be disappointed. These lads are giving the club everything – their professionalism, hunger and desire to keep going are brilliant.
“In the first half we probably over-compensated and threw bodies forward, and you always leave yourself open to the counter-attack then. And Alan Marriott had to make a very good save when their lad got through. That gave us some impetus to build on.”
Stags are now up to third, only three points off tops spot, and Cox said: “We have given ourselves a chance. But all the hard work of the last eight or nine games can go out the window if we are not mentally right for the next eight or nine.
“I won’t lie and say we don’t have one eye on the title. But we won’t get carried away either.”
Anthony Howell’s knee scan suggested that, despite a small tear, he may be able to return to action by the time Stags head for Forest Green on 15th March.
But Cox has spoken to the chairman about bringing in a loanee midfielder until then to try to keep the squad strong.