Mansfield Town look set to head to Portsmouth tomorrow for Saturday’s big six-pointer (3pm) with no new faces on board the coach as the January transfer window passes the halfway point.
Manager Paul Cox and his staff are trying hard to attract new players to the club, particularly a striker, but have so far had no success.
Cox said: “I would like to strengthen the squad. There are situations we have to adhere to and we have to work with budgets etc, but I would like to bring at least one in, maybe even more.
“We have been working hard, covering a lot of ground throughout the country, watching players and we have numerous portfolios. That is the easy part. The hard part is convincing them to come here.
“But I would like to think, if given the go-ahead, I could bring one in.
“The squad needs strengthening, we’ve know that for a vast period of time, and hopefully we will do that. There is no panic at the moment as there is plenty of time to the end of January.”
Mansfield, who have won their last two away games, know a result is essential at Fratton Park where former Stags hero Ritchie Barker has been installed as manager to try to revive Pompey fortunes.
The former Premier League club are 20th, three places and two points behind the Stags, having only won one in 11 League Two games.
“Our away record is not bad at all. We have gone to some tough places and not just performed well but got some good results,” said Cox.
“I don’t think our travels hold any fear for the boys. But it’s not rocket science that our home record needs to improve.
“If you look at the table from bottom to 10th everyone is involved in a relegation battle. It just shows what a tough and very even league this is.”
With Stags struggling to bring in new players, in stark contrast, Portsmouth, who attract crowds of over 15,000, have now brought in five.
David Alfei, Ryan Taylor and Nicky Shorey all made their debuts last week and Pompey have also acquired midfielder Wes Fogden, from Bournemouth, and Jake Jervis, who is awaiting international clearance after a spell in Turkey.
However, Mansfield should welcome back defender Martin Riley and midfielder Jamie McGuire after injury, proving neither show any ill reaction to an inter-squad game on Tuesday.