PAUL COX has revealed that he is drawing inspiration from his previous experiences at Mansfield Town in his quest to achieve his latest against-the-odds mission at Guiseley.
The Lions head into tomorrow’s National League game at sixth-placed Tranmere Rovers on the back of a priceless Boxing Day victory at relegation rivals Chester, which saw them swap places with the Cheshire outfit and move up to fourth-bottom in the standings.
But Cox is under no illusions about the amount of work facing Guiseley in the games and weeks ahead in the new year.
As it stands, the Nethermoor outfit are eight points adrift of the two sides currently just above the bottom four in Barrow and Fylde, with that gap effectively nine points due to Guiseley’s vastly inferior goal difference.
Cox still retains an element of hope and also takes solace from past events at Mansfield, where January proved the catalyst to a stunning turnaround which saw them move from play-off aspirants to Conference champions in a remarkable second half of 2012-13.
On Guiseley’s current predicament, Lions manager Cox told the YEP: “When you look at it, we are eight points off (safety), but have a couple of games in hand on a lot of teams.
“If you look above that, we are 10 points off another three or four places and probably 12 points beyond that.
“I look back to a big January when we were at Mansfield and we were 10 points off top place and outside the play-offs. So there has to be a belief there.
“One thing I am over the moon with is what the fresh impetus of going full-time has given the players and having people like (Callum) McFadzean and (Alex) Purver back has really added to it.”
Both McFadzean and Purver found the net at Chester and while their return to the fray from injury has handed Cox a boost, the Lions chief still has a lengthy injury list to contend with.
A lot has been made about the size of our bench. But since the beginning of the season, there has been a continuous seven, eight or nine players sat on the treatment table and some have hardly featured.Guiseley boss Paul Cox
A ‘crazy’ itinerary of two games in the space of 48 hours with the Lions welcoming Chester on New Year’s Day is also far from ideal, according to Cox.
But he insists that Guiseley have no choice but to get on with matters and continue to display the inner-strength and character which they have shown in the past few weeks.
Cox added: “What we have got to be clever with is that we have two games in three days and will an actual 11 be able to play two competitive games in three days? I think it is crazy what the league has done in terms of the congestion.
“But we will have to be clever and utilise the squad and there might be some bodies (signings) in as a number of players are still unavailable.
“We have never complained about injuries. But we went down to Ebbsfleet and if Danny Lowe had not made that game, then we would not have even been able to make up the bench.
“A lot has been made about the size of our bench. But since the beginning of the season, there has been a continuous seven, eight or nine players sat on the treatment table and some have hardly featured.
“But to be fair to the lads, in the last three games, they have really shown an inner-strength to come through a little period where we openly admitted we were not playing too well. It was like we had a hangover from the FA Cup.”
“But I have had to assess things and made sure we are not getting too low and are trying to build and plan and take things forward.”
James Wesolowski, Joe Green, Rob Atkinson, Marcus Williams and Lowe remain sidelined for tomorrow afternoon’s trip to Prenton Park.