The Big Kick-Off: Boss Paul Cox vows to raise the bar at Mansfield Town

Stags boss Paul Cox -Pic by: Richard Parkes
Stags boss Paul Cox -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox has vowed to raise the bar even further with his players.

Stags gained 60 points to finish in a credible 11th place on their Football League return last season.

Sam Clucas looks to find a way through the Walsall defence -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Sam Clucas looks to find a way through the Walsall defence -Pic by: Richard Parkes

And Cox, who is beginning his fourth season at the helm, is determined to raise standards even further and continue the club’s season by season improvement.

Just 12 points divided eighth-placed Oxford United and relegated Bristol Rovers in the final table last season.

And with big-spending Luton returning to the Football League alongside Bury, Portsmouth and relegated Tranmere, Carlisle and Stevenage, the competition is set to be even more intense.

“We are in a good place right now and our target is to finish as high as possible and win as many games as possible,” said Cox.

Mansfield's Simon Heslop surges forward -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Mansfield's Simon Heslop surges forward -Pic by: Richard Parkes

“We have set targets in the dressing room, but that is something that will stay private amongst the team.

“I want to win and I want us to progress. I will raise the bar with the players this season.

“Our next phase at this club is to develop the young players and get them in to the first team and to take this club forward.

“We have to be realistic though, money talks and brings success and there are a lot of teams with more money than us this season.

“League Two was a tough league last year and a lot of teams have added well to their squad so it is going to be even tougher this time.

“We will have to fight, scratch and bite to get the points this year.”

And Cox, who goes into the season-opener at Northampton missing only the injured Luke Jones and suspended Matt Rhead, knows his players need the fans right behind them every step of the way.

Added Cox: “We need the fans to get behind us this season, they are going to have a massive part to play in where we finish.

“The fans were brilliant last season and we need them to back us from the first minute until the last minute.

“There will be times when we have a dip in form and times when we will disappoint the fans, but we need them to stick with us.

“It is going to be a long season, but whatever happens we are going to work very hard as a team.”