Emergency defender Oli Hawkins back up front for Mansfield Town and confident of a push for glory

Restored to his usual position up front, Mansfield Town's Oli Hawkins said he had enjoyed his spell as an emergency centre half.

Oli Hawkins celebrates his goal at Crawley. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media.
Oli Hawkins celebrates his goal at Crawley. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media.

And he thanked defensive partners Farrend Rawson and John-Joe O'Toole for helping him through the switch.

As he prepared to face Doncaster Rovers in Saturday's FA Cup tie as a striker, Hawkins said: “It was a strange feeling being back up front at Crawley last Saturday as it's been quite a while since I played up there, having got used to being at the back and being defensive minded.

“But it was nice to be back up there and to cap it with an assist and a win was enjoyable.

“It is a very tough position at the back but I do really enjoy it when I play there. I would be happy to play there again this season.

“I did see myself staying there for the rest of the season at one point. But we have a lot of quality defenders and some more coming back from injury.”

He added: “Playing with Faz and JJ, with them being more experienced there, it helped me through it and made life a little bit easier.

“I did make that mistake against Sutton, but if I can eradicate those mistakes then it's probably a position I would look to play in the future, maybe for a whole season.”

With injuries now clearing up, Hawkins believes Stags can show their true colours and shoot up the table.

“We always had the morale and the capability but it just wasn't coming off on the Saturday,” he said.

“But in the last seven games you've seen we are able to do it – and with some of the results we've had to dig in for the wins.

“That's what it takes to be a promotion team. If we can keep it up I can only see us going one way up the table and giving ourselves a good chance at the back end of the season.”