Time running out for Stags pair over new deal

Anthony Howell
Anthony Howell

Anthony Howell and Lindon Meikle are running out of time to sign new deals with Mansfield Town with manager Paul Cox working hard on finding their replacements.

The out-of-contract pair have stalled on new deals offered to them and Cox said: “We have come to a bit of a stop in the actual negotiations right now. But we are talking to plenty of other players too.

“If we can’t agree anything with them then we are going to have to move on. If something materialises in the meantime I have got to do what is best for the football club.

“I go back with both of them a long way and I love them to bits. Both have been excellent for this football club.

“But it’s the future I am concerned with and by the end of the week I would expect them to sign or we will move on if we can’t agree terms with either of them.

He added: “It is now coming up to squeaky bum time for a lot of players. Contracts are starting to run out and those playing their cards close to their chests will need to open up and be realistic about what they want. We are being patient and waiting for the right players.

“I would like to think we will sign players before we come back for pre-season training on Monday, but I won’t be rushed or held to ransom. We will get players in for the money we can pay. We need the right players mentally for what will be a tough season.

“Some of the keepers we are looking at are putting a smile on my face. There are some very good keepers who could come in on what would probably be a season’s loan or until Christmas.

“I have some decent irons in the fire. But it all boils down to being patient and being respectful of other clubs and the players.”

However, two players who have signed new contracts this week are former youth team pair Jack Thomas and Liam Marsden, who both made debuts last season.

“We have sat down with both of them and agreed a contract which is really pleasing news for the football club,” said Cox. “We have got two local boys that have done very well and earned the right to a new contract.

“Now the hard work starts for them. We are expecting good things from them, but they are now first team players.

“We will be running with a squad of maybe 20 maximum so they are in that pool of players and will be under the same pressure as everyone else.

“But they are both good boys with a good mindset and I hope they can the ground running in pre-season.”