Crystal Palace keeper Lewis Price, who had a successful loan spell with Stags at the end of last season, remains high on the wanted list to replace the departing Alan Marriott, but Mansfield boss Paul Cox admitted that, with his reduced budget and the size of Price’s current Premier League pay packet, it would take some massive help from Palace to make it happen.
Marriott’s departure was announced by the club on Monday, the 35-year-old out of contract and unable to agree a new deal on less money.
Cox admitted he would love to now bring in Price but knows it is a tall order on his budget.
“We have a number of targets and I hope something can be done sooner than later on a permanent or loan basis,” he said.
“The amount we paid Palace for Lewis Price was minimalistic and sometimes you are embarrassed what we actually paid them.
“Lewis really enjoyed it here and would love to come back, but it’s not that easy. We don’t live in an ideal world. We have to be respectful he is a Palace player and must adhere to their wishes and the wishes of the player.
“We have spoken to them and the lad and it’s all been positive. But, with the situation we are in, realistically it would mean Crystal Palace wanting to help us out as we couldn’t get anywhere near even half of his wages.”
Cox could not speak highly enough of Marriott and added: “It is the situation we find ourselves in and we have to deal with it. We have to cut our cloth accordingly. We put a deal to Mazza, obviously on reduced terms, and we couldn’t agree anything so we have to move on and look at different options.
“Alan has been a magnificent servant to this club and an absolute dream to work with.
“I know over the last 18 months he has been preparing for a life outside football and has spoken to some of the staff about hanging up his boots.
“I actually think he has a few good years left in him yet and it is an unfortunate situation we are in. He has been part of a very successful three years here and I wish him all the best in whatever he does next.”