Man-mountain striker Matt Rhead this week savoured his first Football League goal against Dagenham and Redbridge last weekend, but admitted he would love to shed his ‘super sub’ tag and make the starting XI.
Rhead, who gave up a good job two summers ago to become a full-time player, is living his dream after Stags gained promotion and opened his account last weekend after making a massive difference when coming on at half-time.
Ahead of tomorrow’s tough trip to Newport County, he said: “It was great to get a goal early doors after only a few games. It couldn’t have come any easier really after a great backheel from Calvin Andrew, it was just a tap-in more than anything. Calvin did brilliantly to get the ball across between so many players.”
Rhead is enjoying every minute of being a League player and added: “It all feels a bit strange, staying up on Saturdays to watch the Football League Show, but this is a great experience and I am will cherish every minute of it.
“I hope next year we will be in League One too. I want us to keep going and going. This is a brilliant experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“There feels more atmosphere in the ground with more away supporters.
“We have already played quite a few of the teams expected to be up there and we haven’t got to fear anyone. It’s something we can build on. This first month has been a real eye-opener and I hope we can carry it on.”
Manager Paul Cox has now challenged Rhead to become a 90-minute player and start games rather than just be a second half impact player.
“Super sub is not the best tag to have as obviously you want to be starting,” said Rhead. “But if I can come on and help the team in any way I will always do my best for Mansfield Town.
“But I want to start as many games as possible and will keep pushing for the team. I will keep coming on and trying to do well until the gaffer wants me to start.
“A lot of teams don’t know what to expect when I come on as they’ve not done their research.”
Rhead has no regrets about quitting his job to go full-time in the game, adding:“It was now or never to be fair, but I made that decision and we went on to win the league last year which made it all worthwhile. I hope we can now push on and get promotion again this year. It’s been something of a fairytale.
“This team is able to push on to the next level and I hope to be part of that, whether it’s play-offs or promotion. There is everything to play for.”