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Cox reflects on a hard-fought second straight win

17 November 2020

First team manager Neil Cox provided his reaction to iFollow Iron after his side won 1-0 away at Port Vale on Tuesday night.

After a spectacular first-half goal from Abo Eisa, this gave United their first back-to-back wins in almost a year. 

Cox said: “My voice is going a little bit hoarse but it’s from screaming at the players about how proud I am of them. We had a really tough game on Saturday (winning 2-0 at Oldham), and we came here and dug in. The plan was to sit and catch them on the counter-attack.

“I just thought we would have a bit more possession, but we were poor at keeping it. However, we were 1-0 up and we had something to hold onto. I think they had 13 shots but only one on target. 

“Away from home at Port Vale, I think it’s a great result. I’m proud of the boys yet again for the defensive display everybody put in.

"We're here to win games and get points for this football club, and put smiles on peoples faces. I thought we really dug in. There are some tired boys in that dressing room but there is a smile on their faces.”

Commenting on Eisa’s 'wonder goal', he said it’s a good start for him: “I keep on telling him to come on the inside of his right foot, but he needs to play like that all game and be positive. It’s a great goal but his defensive display as well was excellent which is good for him. It’s about the team not about individuals, and I think that was a great team performance."

Discussing the chances that were created, he said: “Harrison McGahey comes in and puts is body on the line, Manny (Onariase) for the games he has been in so far does really well.

“The experienced boys are really helping us at the moment, we’re calm. We didn’t keep the ball very well and we know that, but at the end of the day we won 1-0.”

Commenting on Harrison McGahey’s return to action for the first time in two months, he said: “I think Harrison is excellent, this is the first time I’ve seen him today for two weeks - he just turns up at the game, puts his boots on, gets on with it and goes home with three points so fair play to the lad. There is a lot of good spirit.”

Jordan Clarke made his first league appearance since January last Saturday, but was rested tonight due to the game coming around so quickly. Cox said: “That was just a rest. He trained this morning but we have to be careful with him. He was raring to go and he’ll be back into training on Thursday.”

Keeping up to date with Kevin van Veen’s state of play after he got substituted early in the second half, he said: “I’m not sure if it’s as bad as we first thought, but we have to be careful with Kev. Obviously, we are rushing him back, he’s probably three weeks ahead of where he should be so we have to be careful. Hopefully he’s alright and touch wood he should be fine."

He added: “Kev had a smile on his face (in the changing room afterwards), so he must be fine! He’s a leader in there now, he’s an experienced player, and I think he is taking it on really well.” 

“I think he was unlucky not to get that penalty in the first half, a little bit disappointed. We don't seem to be getting the rub of the green in the penalty area. Every time somebody goes down in our box, they seem to get given one, but every time we think we’re getting one we’re not getting anything."

Touching on the next match against Morecambe at the Sands Venue Stadium on Saturday, he said: “We'll wrap them in cotton wool and see what I’ve got available on Thursday. I’ll do my homework on Morecambe tomorrow morning. We need to try and pick our home form up and get some points at home."

Cox concluded by dedicating the win to vice president and goalkeeping legend Ray Clemence, who sadly passed away at the weekend. He said: "I think he would be proud of our defensive play and we made sure the goalkeeper didn't have to make too many saves, and that’s what he used to do. He used to organise around him and only had to pull off saves when he needed to, so I think he would be quite proud tonight.”

See much more from Neil Cox and Abo Eisa on iFollow Iron. Click here to grab an iFollow match pass ahead of the home game vs Morecambe on Saturday.

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