Manager Nigel Clough hoping to avoid using Oli Hawkins at centre half as Mansfield Town try to stop the rot.

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough will try to avoid pulling giant forward Oli Hawkins back to centre half in a bid to solve their defensive frailties ahead of Saturday's visit of Rochdale.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 11:42 am
Oli Hawkins celebrates his opening goal against Bradford City, Pic Chris Holloway

Stags have lost five games in a row and not had a clean sheet all season and Clough admitted: “Oli is probably as good as we've got at centre half, though we have not actually seen him play there yet. We know from past things he has done.

“But he is also our best centre forward at the moment.

“So if we can do without moving him we will leave him where he is. I wish we'd got two of him.

“But he is perfectly happy to go and do a job for the team and, after four straight league defeats, everything is on the table in terms of personnel and people coming back into the team who have not been in it so far this season.

“We have one or two other knocks from last Saturday so we will have to wait and see who makes it.”

Clough added: “With everything going against us as it is, we have to rally round, close ranks a little bit and start fighting and scrapping for everything we can.”

With central defence proving such a problem, Clough did suggest, with the transfer window closed, he may now make a move for an out of contract player to boost his squad.

However, he said this week: “We have had a look at free agents but we don't really see anybody out there who will massively improve the situation.

“It may depend on injuries as well as we have one or two more after last week.”