Mansfield Town boss Cox salutes Stags win at leaders - and reveals new Championship interest in Naylor

Happy Stags manager Paul Cox
Happy Stags manager Paul Cox

STAGS manager Paul Cox paid tribute to his troops for their fantastic 3-1 win at Wrexham on Tuesday night.

Shrugging off the 3-0 home defeat by Kidderminster on Saturday, Mansfield overcame all the odds to sting the league leaders and Cox said: “That was an excellent win.

“They let themselves down on Saturday. But I keep saying how honest these lads are and they responded well to harsh words from me tonight to beat a very good side who will be up there in the Championship race.

“In the first 15 minutes I thought Wrexham had about 15 players out there and it was going to be a very one-sided game. They were passing it like Inter Milan.

“So credit to the lads who dug in, weathered the storm, and deserved the win in the end.

“We defended really well against a very good side. We knew what were coming to here and the lads really put in a shift and responded well to things not going well for them recently.

“It was a good match for the neutral and certainly got the crowd on their feet, though it wasn’t good for the blood pressure.

“We came here with a game plan and the lads stuck to it and worked extremely hard.”

Stags’ night was marred somewhat by the harsh second yellow card and red for Tom Naylor near the end with Wrexham already down to 10 men.

“I didn’t think it was a sending-off and I told the referee so,” said Cox. “It was unfair on Tom as he was excellent at right back tonight.

“If I am honest I think the referee wanted to even things up as, before that, we thought he was going to send off Matt Green who we were told was on his last chance.

“The referee ran over as Matt came off and we had to get him off quickly as it looked like he would get a red card if we didn’t.

“Tom will now be suspended again and we don’t know if he will still be with us when that’s over. We were expecting a bid today which didn’t materialise.

“Another Championship club has now come in for him too and we’ll have to see what happens. It would be great to keep him here as he is a good player. But we wouldn’t stand in the way of him progressing.”

He also paid tribute to keeper Alan Marriott who pulled of a superb early save and did well with everything asked of him after that.

“Alan has been a bit of a spectator in some games but he kept us in it today with that save,” said Cox.

“I didn’t actually see our penalty as I was shouting at my central defenders at the time. But Matt Green practices them every day and practice makes perfect – he put away well.”