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Striker salutes Stags’ spirit

28 March 2022

In-form striker Rhys Oates has hailed the spirit of the Stags’ squad ahead of Mansfield’s final ten games of the season.

Nigel Clough’s men travel to Hartlepool United tomorrow night (Tuesday) and would sit just a point and a place outside the automatic positions in Sky Bet League Two with a victory in the north east as the race for promotion hots up.

Leading talisman Oates has played a significant part in Stags’ meteoric rise up the table, and notched his 11th goal of the season in a dramatic 2-1 victory at Oldham last Saturday.

Reflecting on the game at a news conference this afternoon, the 27-year-old said: “I think we started quite well, we had a couple of chances in the first ten minutes. After they got the goal we didn’t carry on playing how we know we can play.

“The gaffer made a change at half-time and I think we were better in the second-half. We created a lot of chances, had a lot of shots on goal and luckily came away with a win in the end. 

“The last two games, Rochdale and Oldham, we’ve not played the best but we’ve managed to get the three points in both of them and that’s all that matters at this stage of the season.”

Oates pin-pointed the spirit in the dressing room as one characteristic in Stags’ commendable run of form.

“We’ve got togetherness in bundles in this squad,” he said.

“Everyone gets on. It’s just a great set of lads here and we just need to stick together, back each other and aim for three points every week.”

Oates is set to return to his former employers, Hartlepool, tomorrow, from whom he left to join the Stags last summer.

“I enjoyed last season there and scored a lot of goals.

“Promotion [from the National League] topped it off. It’ll be nice to go back there and see some old faces.”

Meanwhile, the ex-Barnsley trainee revealed that he has already reached one personal milestone this season, by acquiring double-figure goals.

“It’s nice to get goals and get into double figures but it’s just about getting the three points that really matters.

“With getting 17-18 goals last season, getting double figures was my target this season. I’ll just kick on and see how many I can get now.”

Previewing the final ten games of the season, he said: “Even if you’re not playing great, you need to do what you can to win games. We’ll just take it game by game and pick up as many points as we can.

“It’s mentally tough but you’ve just got to keep concentrating with all the games we have coming up.

“Our fans have been amazing throughout the season. No doubt they’ll travel in their numbers again tomorrow.”

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