Mansfield Town’s in-form striker Rhys Oates insists he can still improve on aspects of his game in order to become a more complete forward.
The 27-year-old, who has scored four goals in his last six games, achieved promotion with Sunday’s opponents Hartlepool last season.
Speaking to at a news conference yesterday at RH Academy – the club’s training ground – Oates expressed a desire to extend his excellent form by working on attributes that he feels need developing.
“I know I’ve scored a few, I’ve got four in the last six, but I think I can still relax a bit more in font of goal at times,” he said.
“I’ll keep working on that and I’ll keep working on my hold-up play and lay-offs, things like that.
“[I will] Just keep working as hard as I can at everything really.”
When asked about his former employers, he said: “It meant everything to that club and to me on a personal note to help them get back to the Football League.
“I know they have a lot of the same players, I still keep in touch with a few of the lads there.
“I had to look at where I am in my career [though]. It [joining Mansfield] was a good move for me to make.”
The Pontefract-born forward’s fine goalscoring performances have coincided with the Stags’ recent run of nine victories from ten games.
“We started the season really well with two wins and a draw but then we had a bit of a turn [in fortune] and we didn’t get the results that we wanted.
“I felt we were still playing well but the results just weren’t going our way.
“We knew that as soon as we got that one win [at home to Tranmere] we’d go on a run and we haven’t really looked back since that win [by winning nine of the next ten].”
The Boxing Day clash will be the club’s first in over two weeks after positive Covid cases in Forest Green’s camp led to last week’s match being postponed.
“We were right up for that game. We know that on our day we can beat any team [in the division],” the forward said.
“They [Forest Green] are flying in the league this season, scoring bags full of goals but we’re probably the inform team in the league at the minute.
“We’re confident we can beat anyone. We just wanted to keep the momentum [going].”
Sunday’s game will be another chance for Oates to impress the Mansfield supporters. The forward has become a fans’ favourite in recent months and says he appreciates the backing given to the squad.
“They [the fans] have been amazing home and away. The Sunderland and the Doncaster games in the FA Cup [in particular].
“They travel in their numbers and at home you can hear them for the full game, especially recently.
“They’ve been right behind us [all year] and they’re the twelfth man.”
Watch the forward’s interview in full at: mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.