GUISELEY’S FA Cup odyssey may have ended at Mansfield Town, but for Paul Cox, the real journey is only just beginning.
Despite a disappointing and frustrating first return to Field Mill, ex-Stags manager Cox is steadfastly taking the Lions’ 3-0 defeat squarely on the chin, with his overwhelming priority very much being National League business and more especially survival.
After the nice distraction of cup matters, second-from-bottom Guiseley will now immerse themselves totally on the league, with Cox’s troops having a 25-match season to pull away from trouble and confirm their divisional status for 2017-18.
And Cox is preparing to roll up his sleeves and is very much looking forward to the fight and triumphing in what he has called the ‘biggest challenge’ of his professional career.
Cox said: “I am looking at the whole thing over the season and our main goal is to keep the club in this league.
“When I first arrived at the club, I knew that – whatever I had done at previous clubs – that this was going to be my biggest challenge and that if I do achieve the goal of keeping us in the league, it will be my biggest success.
Some people get down and get a little bit off track. But I am very single-minded in terms of knowing what is needed nowGuiseley boss, Paul Cox
“I have won a few leagues and had a few FA Cup journeys. But overall, it is about what makes us consistently win football matches. We had a learning curve against a very good side and club in a very good place and we have lost a game. It is how we learn from this and embrace what we could have done.
“For me, it is about keeping this club in this division this year and we need to learn quickly in how we adapt and the psychology of how to be consistent and put some good performances together.
“We are in the bottom four and have been for a long time and it is for a reason.”
Sunday may have been a forgettable occasion, compounded by the dismissals of defenders Darren Holden and Chris M’Boungou, but Cox has taken overall solace from the Lions’ history-making run to the second round of the FA Cup, which constitutes a ‘first’ for the club.
The sight of almost 700 travelling supporters in good voice at Mansfield, despite the result, was another substantive and motivational tool for Cox, who is hoping to reward their backing in the coming weeks and months with some uplifting results.
He added: “There is always a positive and we have created history for the football club, and we did that, despite me having been here for ten weeks.
“It is always a massive positive and so many people came to watch us and were so vocal.
“That is what kind of hurts me as we did not really put on a performance and get the desired result.
“I think the backing was superb. It was very humbling.
“I am an angry man on the touchline when we don’t play well and are not at the races and I feel for the supporters sometimes.
“But they have backed us 100 per cent, at home and away, away at Accrington and on cold midweek nights.
“We are at the start of the journey. That is what excites me about this club.
“This cup run has been a nice bit of ice cream with a cherry on the top. Ultimately, we will achieve our goals. It is brilliant that the fans stayed behind and appreciated the boys’ efforts with nine men. This has inspired me.
“Some people get down and get a little bit off track. But I am very single-minded in terms of knowing what is needed now, coming around this bend this Christmas of achieving our biggest goal of keeping the club in this division.”