Win over Dagenham would complete ‘decent points haul’ from Mansfield Town’s tough first month of the season, says manager Paul Cox

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox with assistant Richard Cooper  -Pic by:Richard Parkes
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox with assistant Richard Cooper -Pic by:Richard Parkes

If Mansfield Town can chalk up their first home win back in the Football League against Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday, manager Paul Cox feels an eight-point return from a very tricky five-game August would be a decent return.

Stags will be looking to build on Saturday’s thrilling 2-2 home draw with Portsmouth, and Cox said: “When you look at our first five games on paper, you think, wow, that is a tough start to the season.

“So, if we can win on Saturday, that would be a decent points haul.

“But it’s not about how you start, it’s about where you finish and I would take a bad start to the season every year if we then finished how we have the last two seasons.”

However, Cox knows Dagenham, above Stags only on goal difference, will be no pushovers.

“This will be as tough a game as Portsmouth, but for different reasons,” he said.

“I have had reports and seen DVDs and they will be very hard to beat and hard to break down, so we may have to be patient.

“They went to Scunthorpe and got a very good result there. You can’t turn your nose up at anyone in this league.”

Cox was yesterday boosted by injured midfielders Keiran Murtagh and Anthony Howell coming through a behind-closed-doors game against some released professionals without any problems.

Murtagh looked a real prospect in pre-season but has been sidelined since the campaign kicked-off.

“Saturday may be a bit early for Keiran but we will keep a check on him this week.

“We had some good performances and we now have a number of players champing at the bit to break into the XI which is really positive for me.

“Keeping players minds fresh and active when they are not in the side is one of the hardest parts of the job.”

Cox felt Stags could have beaten Portsmouth last weekend with better finishing and added: “We are putting in these foundations and building blocks and the lads are working extremely hard in training and in games.

“There is a bit of belief coming now, though we can still get a lot better at a lot of things.”