Mansfield Town has a number of players who can cause problems for the opposition.
The Stags have won six of their last seven games and arrive on Saturday with wins in three of their last four away games. The Stags use the offensive prowess of Oliver Hawkins in Nigel Clough’s 3-5-2 system, as the former Portsmouth striker has five goals this season for Mansfield.
A total of 10 different players have inked their name on the score sheet this campaign, but only four players – Hawkins (5), Danny Johnson (4), Rhys Oates (4) and Ollie Clarke (3) – have more than a single goal.
As a defensive unit, the Stags have only produced four clean sheets thus far this season, with two of those being 0-0 draws against Leyton Orient and Oldham Athletic.
Here are your ones to watch:
Club captain Ollie Clarke serves as a midfielder for Mansfield Town, first joining the club in July 2020. Born in Bristol, Clarke began his career as a youth with his hometown club Bristol Rovers in 2009. He would go on to sign his first professional contract with the club, staying there until 2020.
In all, he played more than 230 games for the club, and scored more than 20 goals. Before becoming a regular first team player for The Gas, Clarke served loan spells at Gloucester City, Mangotsfield United and Clevedon Town.
He made his first team debut in the final game of the 2010/11 season, coming on as a substitute against Colchester United. He helped the team secure promotion to Sky Bet League One in 2015.
Clarke captained Bristol Rovers during the 2019/20 season before ultimately declining an offer to remain with the club and making the move to the midlands. In his first season with Mansfield Town, Clarke has netted three goals and tallied two assists. Defensively, he has registered 16 interceptions to go along with 20 tackles won, while also delivering 19 crosses into the box. He is averaging 0.50 goals per shots on target, as well as 1.77 shots per game.
Oliver Hawkins joined Mansfield Town for an undisclosed fee in June 2021 after spending a season at Ipswich Town. He can be employed as either a striker or defender.
He began his career at North Greenford United in 2009, followed by a season with Hillingdon Borough, and two seasons with Northwood – where he would finish as the team’s top scorer in both the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons. Hawkins’ first EFL move came when he signed on to play for Sky Bet League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge in January 2016.
Following the club’s relegation from the EFL to the National League in 2016, Hawkins spent another season with the club until eventually moving to Portsmouth in Sky Bet League One in August 2017. In his time at Dagenham & Redbridge, Hawkins scored 19 goals in 63 appearances while at Portsmouth, he bagged 14 goals in 77 games featured for Portsmouth. This season, Hawkins leads the Stags with five goals, adding an assist. He has registered 14 shots on target in 34 total attempts, giving him a 41.2% shots on target average. He also has 0.36 goals per shots on target, while also securing 13 interceptions and 11 tackles won in defence.
A native of Sheffield, George Maris has been a regular in manager Nigel Clough’s starting line-up for Mansfield Town since the midfielder arrived at Field Mill on a two-year deal in July 2020. Prior to this, Maris had spent four seasons with Cambridge United. He would make his debut for the Us against Barnet in August 2016, later scoring his first goal for the club in a 2-1 away loss to Wycombe Wanderers. Similar to teammate Rhys Oates, Maris began his career in the youth Academy of Barnsley with the U15s team in 2011, going on to ink his first professional contract with the club in 2014.
He served a loan spell with Conference Premiership side Nuneaton Town, followed by stops at Guiseley and Lincoln City across the 2015/16 season. In Cambridgeshire, Maris featured more than 130 times for the club, going on to score more than 20 goals.
This season for Mansfield Town, Maris has scored a goal and contributed on another. He has delivered 33 crosses for the Stags, recording a team third-best 21 interceptions and 9 tackles won in defence.
Born in Pontefract, Rhys Oates began his youth career at Barnsley, later signing his first professional contract with the club after being awarded Academy Scholar of the Year in 2013. He played two seasons with Barnsley (2013-15), while serving several loan spells for teams such as Grimsby Town and Stockport County.
He featured nine times for Barnsley, before securing a move to Hartlepool United in 2015 where he played in 109 games and scored 12 goals. Oates spent two seasons (2018-20) at Morecambe, before returning to Hartlepool United in August 2020.
One of his biggest contributions for the club during his second term at Hartlepool United would be an assist in a game against Torquay United that saw his side earn promotion back to the Football League. That season, Oates was voted Players’ and Fans’ Player of the Year. He joined Mansfield Town in the summer of 2021 upon the expiration of his contract with Hartlepool. This season, Oates is tied for second in the team goal-scoring charts with four goals to his credit, as well as two assists. He owns a 33.3% shots on target average to go along with averaging 2.15 shots per game (0.72 shots on target per game). Currently, he is scoring at a 0.40 goals per game.