Keeping Guiseley up would be my biggest managerial success, says Paul Cox

GUISELEY'S FA Cup odyssey ended at Mansfield Town on Sunday, but for manager Paul Cox, the real journey is only just beginning.

Guiseley manager Paul Cox.

Despite a disappointing and frustrating first return to Field Mill, ex-Stags manager Cox is taking the Lions’ 3-0 round-two defeat squarely on the chin.

His overwhelming priority is very much National League business and, more especially, survival in the division.

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After the distraction of cup matters, second-from-bottom Guiseley will immerse themselves totally in the league, with Cox’s side having a 25-match ‘season’ to pull away from trouble and confirm their divisional status for 2017-18.

Guiseley will visit Ebbsfleet at the weekend, and 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.

“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.”

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.

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: “It is brilliant that the fans stayed behind and appreciated the boys’ efforts with nine men.

“This has inspired me.”