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Neil Cox reacts to back-to-back home wins

26 January 2021

First team manager Neil Cox gave his thoughts to iFollow Iron after his side won 2-0 at home to Port Vale on Tuesday night.

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It was a double from Ryan Loft that secured United the three points, along with another clean sheet after a tough game against the Valiants.

Speaking post-match, Cox said: “It feels really good. I thought the first-half performance was excellent on a difficult night for us because we had such a good result at the weekend and people were looking at us like we wouldn’t turn up.

“In the first-half, we worked hard. We had a game plan of turning and running in behind them and I think that’s how we got the first goal. Lofty tucks it in well. Then we scored the second and still had a couple of other good opportunities. I think we won the game in the first half.

“In the second half, we was a little bit careful. They were able to play down the side of us and they had loads of the ball but didn’t hurt us. I can't remember Mark (Howard) being in too much trouble to make a save.”

Jai Rowe returned to the starting line-up in the absence of Jordan Clarke, with both of the Iron's full-backs just 19-years-old on the night. Rowe also had to play all but a minute of the game on a yellow card following an early caution.

“The two young full-backs were excellent. They played against two year-in-year-out footballers and I thought they were excellent," he continued.

"Mason and Jai are doing well. They are young lads playing in the first team regularly. I wanted to keep them on and for them to learn their trade and win again is brilliant."

Discussing the performance of the team, he said: “The boys are working hard and that’s their job. Jem (Karacan) has come in and helped us out with having some experience and leadership around the place. He’s still not fit - he’s only about 50 per cent fit - so he will get stronger.

“I think it’s going to be good for Spenno (Lewis Spence) and Beest (Alfie Beestin) - they’re going to learn off him. I’ve been able to rest one of them in the game which is good for me. The last two performances we’ve had a right to go and we’ve deserved to win them, having five goals and two clean sheets.”

Loft made it three goals in two games. Speaking about the forward, Cox said: “It brings him confidence as we know Lofty has his ups and downs but he’s learning his trade in League Two.

"He’s played for two higher clubs and has played a lot of Under-23s football. Now he’s getting his body right for League Two and when he plays like the last two games he’s a handful for anybody. 

"He’s only going to get better. We encourage him and work hard with him on the training ground and we’ve seen some positives. He’s a quick boy and at 6ft 3in, I think he’s going to be a handful for many years.”

Abo Eisa was 50-50 going into the game with a knee injury sustained towards the end of Saturday's win against Grimsby, but managed to play, while Loft himself was a doubt going into the Mariners fixture.

Speaking on the knocks within the side, he added: “A couple of our lads have got knocks and I could have left them out today; Eisa with his knee, Lofty with his back and (Alex) Gilliead with an ankle problem but after the weekend they all wanted to play. They said they were ready to go and I trust them. Now we’ve got to have a look at them over the next two days and see which team we pick for Friday.”

United now face Colchester United away on Friday night (7pm kick-off) looking to win three games in a row for the first time since December 2019.

“It’s going to be difficult on Friday night now, we’ll get on with it," he stated.

"We get a little bit of a break after that but we have to go strong and keep more clean sheets.

“At the end of the day we just need to keep getting results. I’m not worried about the league table. It’s about picking points up and I’m pleased with the boys who’ve turned a corner. In the last two performances we’ve got a little bit of grit and a little bit of pride back.”

See much more from Neil Cox and Mark Howard on iFollow Iron.


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