LOMAS ON STAGS: Giant signing Oli Hawkins could be a Plan A, B or C for Mansfield Town

So Mansfield Town have gone and grabbed themselves a giant target man.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 3:31 pm
Oli Hawkins celebrates after scoring the winning penalty in the Checkatrade Trophy Final for Portsmouth against Sunderland at Wembley Stadium in March 2019.
Oli Hawkins celebrates after scoring the winning penalty in the Checkatrade Trophy Final for Portsmouth against Sunderland at Wembley Stadium in March 2019.

But Oli Hawkins, who was signed for an undisclosed fee from League One Ipswich Town on Monday, insists he is not just a Plan B hulk.

A big Plan B man is something Stags have lacked since Matt Rhead and, when you're under pressure, the last thing you want is the ball constantly coming back at you.

But Hawkins has real pedigree, having worked his way up from non-league to three seasons with Portsmouth and a year at Ipswich.

Indeed, had the Tractor Boys not changed managers while he was out injured, he may have been in favour to stay on for the second half of his two-year contract.

But Paul Cook told Hawkins he was going to be down his pecking order and that was to be Mansfield's gain as Clough swooped to give the 6ft 6ins forward a new home and renewed ambition of success at the One Call Stadium.

Despite his obvious assets as a battering ran, we are told Hawkins can also play a bit and will create a wealth of chances for other players around him.

He is also a Plan C as he can and has operated as a talented centre half and his height will certainly be useful when defending set pieces in his own box when starting as a striker.

I wonder if fans will be re-working Matt Rhead's old song to 'Oli Oli Boing Boing'?

I was also pleased to see Keaton Ward sign a one-year deal alongside fellow youngster Jaden Charles.

Having come through the ranks at Stags before moving to Barnsley, Ward is still very much 'one of our own' and a player who showed at the end of last campaign that he could prove very useful as an extra option in an already talented midfield department.

I have not yet seen enough of Charles to have an opinion but the fact Clough has given him a year should tell us all we need to know.

In the meantime, hopefully England can excite us all as they go into the round of 16 in the Euros next week.

For all the pre-match hype of the big clash with Scotland on Friday, there was always that feeling it may prove a damp squib. On a rainy night at Wembley, it had the feel of a hard-fought local derby that had an inevitable 0-0 ending.