PAUL Cox has wasted no time getting down to work as Guiseley’s new manager and has told his players “You all start with a clean slate”.

He met with the first-team squad for the first time on Tuesday night at the club’s Crofton training base and spelt out his plans to lift the Lions away from the National League relegation zone.

The 45-year-old former Barrow, Mansfield Torquay and Eastwood boss said: “It was important to meet the players as soon as possible and see what makes them tick as human beings. I am sure there will a lot of anxiety and rumour-mongering about what we are going to do.

“These are uncertain times but I want to understand them as I assess the squad and I want them to buy in to my philosophy. I want to know their thoughts. Everybody starts with a clean slate.”

Cox added: “I want to give them the confidence to win matches because that is what this is all about. At times this can be a horrible business but it is all about results.

“I need to encourage the consistency in performance that will win us matches. There is always concern when you are not winning.”

When asked if he was worried about Guiseley’s plight with just five points from eight games – they dropped to second bottom when Solihull Moors beat Chester 2-0 as he was leading his first training session – Cox said: “At this time of the season you seldom get jobs with a team that is second in the league.

“This is a great time to come in. There is time to work with the players and attack the league. It’s about belief and knowing how to win games.”

Cox has been joined by Ben Marvin as first-team coach. He worked with the new manager at Mansfield and Barrow.

“He is a UEFA B licence coach but he also does all the analysis and match reports for me. He is multi-functional,” said Cox.

“I hope to bring in assistant too but it has to be the right person with the same mindset. He will help with the scouting and preparation but I will be in charge of recruitment.”

Cox will lead his team for the first time on Saturday when they face Eastleigh at home, before returning to face his old club Barrow on Tuesday night at Holker Street.

He said: “I’m sure the people who were cheering me when we had a 26-game unbeaten run will be having a dig on Tuesday. It’s part and parcel of the game.”

Cox has inherited a 25-man squad and admits he would prefer a smaller number.

“I think 22 is an ideal number as it becomes difficult when you have too many players not getting a game,” he said.

“I have watched the team in their last two matches and know most of the players.

“I will assess the squad and look to raise the bar in any decisions I make.

“I’ve already had managers on the phone offering me players. I judge the squad on quality, not quantity.

“There are loan players available from Football League clubs and players out of contract but I will only bring in players who are right for us.

“Sometimes a loan player can come in and give the team a lift – but it is no good if you bring one in just to bolster numbers.

“For me, quality is always more important than quantity. If you have too big a squad it is difficult to keep people happy.”

Cox knows there is hard work ahead and he knows that beyond the immediate priority of improving the team’s league position lies the challenge of moving the club forward.

It is a project that excited him and was the reason he joined Guiseley. He said: “There is already a good structure in place here to build on.

“When I went to Mansfield it was exactly the opposite. We had to go round the local colleges to recruit young players – but we eventually got things in place and won promotion to the Football League.”

Cox, who lives in Lincolnshire with his wife Natasha and daughters Ellie (6) and Mille (4), is delighted to be cutting down his commuting time.

“After a night game at Barrow, it would take about four hours to get home, and when I was at Torquay I was living on my own and the travelling was tough,” he said.

“Mind you, I see the car as my office. It is the place where I do a lot of my thinking. It is where I have a lot of time to consider what I want to do.”

Guiseley fans will be hoping that Cox can drive them along the road to a brighter National League future.