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Rovers’ point ‘important’, declares defender

12 February 2022

Mansfield Town centre-back Oli Hawkins says the team’s hard-fought point away to Bristol Rovers was an ‘important’ one as it preserves Stags’ unbeaten run and as importantly their ‘momentum’.

Hawkins, who can also play up front, was deployed at the heart of Mansfield’s defence, who kept Rovers’ attacking players at bay to seal out a 0-0 draw for the Stags. 

The ex-Ipswich player has been fielded at centre back for much of the season and the result at The Memorial Stadium registered a third clean sheet for the Amber and Blue in four matches. 

The number 12 believes Mansfield’s draw will be reflected on as valuable. 

“[It was] an important point from a tough place to come and a clean sheet,” he said. 

“We want to win these games at any cost but we’ll probably look back on it and say it’s a good draw. 

“We had a lot of possession [in the] first half. I think it was a game of two halves. The second half we had to dig in. We had a few errors in the first five minutes we had to overcome, but the rest of the half we [did] well and [we] didn’t really give them a sniff [of goal]. 

“We defended well [and] kept a clean sheet. The positive is [that it is] no loss and a clean sheet.” 

On what Mansfield’s incredible unbeaten run is down to, Hawkins said: “Just the togetherness of everyone, the manager, the staff, the players.  

“Everyone is happy. Everyone is looking forward to coming in and training, and [we’re] looking forward to the games. 

“The way everything is run [here] is brilliant and that’s the key to it.” 

Throughout Mansfield’s 11-game unbeaten run in the league, Hawkins has found great success in his role at centre back. The 29-year-old was initially brought into the club as a striker, but is relishing his deployment in defence.  

“I came here as a striker and a striker is still in my blood, but I’m really enjoying centre half at the moment,” Hawkins told iFollow Stags. 

“I’m looking forward to each game to try and keep a clean sheet and defend as well as I can to become a better centre half. 

“I’m hoping I can keep playing well there and the team wins so we can get promoted.” 

In order to maximise Mansfield’s chance of promotion, Hawkins believes the team need to replicate their approach to home matches in their upcoming away fixtures. 

Previewing Stags’ clash at Newport next week, the Londoner said: “We’ve just got to do the same as we do at home.” 

“We’ve got to be on the front foot early, take our chances, get the lead and then defend well when we need to. 

“We know our home ground is a fortress with the fans and the way we play. We’re confident enough to know we aren’t going to lose many at home. 

“Our away form isn’t bad either, we don’t lose many. We need to just keep taking our chances when they come and we’ll have enough to win these games. 

“We just want to try and stay unbeaten, so winning and drawing is key for us at the moment. We’ve got to keep this momentum [going].” 

Watch the defender's interview in full now by clicking here.


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