Pat Hoban was delighted to finally make a full debut for Mansfield Town in last night’s 1-1 draw at Accrington and is now desperate to keep his place and show Stags fans what he is capable of.
The Irish striker, 25, joined the club in the summer after being released by Oxford United.
But, after impressing in pre-season games, Hoban suddenly picked up a pre-season injury and found himself out of the picture.
“It hasn’t been the ideal start for me, getting injured and stuff,” he said.
“I have been working very hard on the training ground and just had to bide my time.
“Players have been doing well. So I was just happy to get out onto the pitch and put a shift in.
“That just the way football is – you have to take the good with the bad. I am just delighted to be back and I feel it was good to get 75 minutes in today and hopefully kick on from that.
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“Hopefully I can keep my name on the team sheet. But that’s not up to me.
“The more I play the more match fitness I’ll get, then the better I’ll get and the sharper I’ll get.”
Hoban added: “I thought I had one of my best games for a long time when I played that pre-season friendly against Hull – and that wasn’t even a sniff of what I can do. So hopefully I can bring more of that.
“I thought in the first half last night I was involved in a lot of the play and I was very happy with my performance.
“Second half I didn’t get as much of the ball as I would have liked, but that’s the way it goes. But I am happy with my first start of the season and happy with the way things went.
“Surprisingly I felt like I could have played the full 90, so that’s a good sign for me.”
Stags left bogey club Accrington with a rare point last night and finally ended their goal drought, but Hoban felt that the Stags should have come away with a win.
“It could have been three points tonight, especially the way we played in the first half as I thought we were excellent,” he said. “The way we approached it, the team spirit, was fantastic.
“It was just unfortunate we gave a soft goal away, but we’ll take the point.
“We have been so close. We’ve been inches away from getting goals. The last two games we have had 27 shots. But we haven’t had the rub of the green. It’s football and this happens.
“But we got a goal tonight and I thought we were absolutely excellent.
“We pressed on, we made it really difficult for them and we created lot of chances.
“We got the 1-0 lead I thought we deserved and were just unlucky not to get three points.”
Despite the run of six games without a win and five without a goal, Hoban said the spirit among the players had never dipped and they were always confident things would come good.
He said: “The atmosphere in the dressing room has been absolutely fantastic, next to none, and that’s down to the gaffer putting that in there. We’re all a close unit.
“It’s absolutely massive. If there is no team spirit then you may as well forget about it.
“There is a good attitude in training, the fire and the bite and the will to win.
“If we just keep doing what we’re doing, suddenly things will change and the goals will flow and everyone will be happy.”