Midfield goals ace Whiteman targets top three finish

Mansfield Town v Hartlepool United.
Ben Whiteman runs to the Ian Greaves Stand to celebrated the Stags first goal.

Mansfield Town v Hartlepool United. Ben Whiteman runs to the Ian Greaves Stand to celebrated the Stags first goal.

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Midfield goals sensation Ben Whiteman is convinced Mansfield Town can still gain automatic promotion to League One this season.

Yesterday’s thumping 4-0 home win over Hartlepool United moved the Stags into the top seven for the first time, just six points now off that top three automatic places.

Click HERE to read the match report

Click HERE to read Steve Evans’ thoughts

Sheffield United loanee Whiteman bagged a brace to make it four goals in three games and five in seven overall and said: “Hopefully we want to get up in the top three, we don’t want to have to go up through the play-offs.

“If it is the play-offs then that’s what it is. But we want to go up in the top three.”

Stags still have to play all the sides above them and Whiteman said: “It’s probably a good thing. We have got to show ourselves against the top teams and hopefully we can turn them over.”

Whiteman almost completed a hat-trick but was thwarted by keeper Adam Bartlett.

“I thought it was in to be fair – the keeper’s pulled off a good save,” he said.

“I am delighted to score two, but most importantly we got the three points.

“I can’t thank the gaffer enough for bringing me here and getting regular game time – that’s the most important thing.

“You can’t get too carried away with yourself, I’ve only been playing for a month. There’s still half a season to go yet I’m doing all right at the moment.

“We are a close-knit group and the lads are showing on the pitch why we’ve only conceded one goal this year.

“The back four and Jake Kean have been different class.”

He added: “I think we were sloppy second half and the gaffer reminded us of that at full-time. But we’ve won 4-0 so we can’t really complain.

“The fans were different class again, really loud, and we can’t ask for more.”