Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox’s frustrations increased as his side were given a finishing lesson in today’s 3-0 defeat at in-form Oxford United – but he is still unable to bring in the goalscorer that would have made all the difference today.
Stags dominated the game and created the vast majority of chances, but it was the home side who showed the deadly touch that Cox is desperate to bring to the One Call Stadium.
However, he is currently unable to get any players out to free up cash, and he also saw his squad shrink at Oxford as he lost defenders James Jennings and Martin Riley with first half injuries.
On the striker situation, Cox said: “We need one and I have been saying that for a long time.
“We have been crying out for one for five or six weeks. The boys need a bit of help.
“We need to bring someone in who will rub off on the others and bring them on.
“We thought we had one in Emile Sinclair, It can be the difference between promotion and relegation at this level. We just need that killer touch.
“But I can’t do anything unless I can get someone out. I am being honest with everyone. That is what I am up against.
“It is frustrating as a goalscorer added to this group of players now would make all the difference with the number of chances we are creating, especially away from home. We just need someone to put them away.”
He added: “The chances we created in the first 20 minutes before they scored, the game should have been out of sight.
“We are not talking long range, we are talking tap-ins – that was the difference. They were opportunities where the keeper shouldn’t have stood a chance.
“You look at the quality of players like Constable, Kitson, Connolly and Smalley – that’s the difference.
“I would like to see how many chances they had – maybe five or six and they’ve scored three of them. That’s a good ratio.
“Their first goal was disappointing as we were so heavily on top at the time. We were passing the ball well and playing some good stuff.
“It was so sloppy. The build-up to it was sloppy and we let the ball get into our box too easily.
“You can’t do anything about the second goal. It was just a wonder strike. Then we went chasing the game and started leaving little holes.
“If we are not going to score then we need to get back to at least keeping a clean sheet.”
Cox continued: “Oxford are in a different place to us. They are going to be in that top three and are all geared up for promotion. They have got the know-how.
“This a massive learning curve for us and Oxford are a benchmark for us. But there wasn’t a massive difference between the sides today apart from the quality of the finishing.
“The scoreline reads 3-0 and looks like we took a bit of a tonking. But I thought we were the better side for the majority of the game. But you can’t argue with the score. You always get what you deserve in football.
“We had enough chances to win three football matches comfortably.
“We will all watch the DVD on Monday and I must make sure their heads do not drop now. It’s not a witch hunt, just about being more ruthless.
“Then we will have some finishing practice in training.
“Finishing is the most simplistic factor of the game. Polish up on that and we will be a decent side.
“I feel sorry for our supporters today as they should be going home with a bit of something and they aren’t.”
On the injuries, he added: “James Jennings has pulled a thigh muscle, and it looks a bad one. Martin Riley’s injury is in the ankle/Achilles region and we need to have it looked at. But I thought the boys who came on did well.”