Young Stags striker Ollie Palmer is planning to use a sprint coach this summer to help him improve his speed over short distances and iron out his ‘funny’ running style.
Palmer (22) has scored five times in his first season with Mansfield Town after a move from Havent & Waterlooville on the eve of the season, starting 21 games and coming on as a sub in 21 others and said: “I would have taken the appearances, though not the goals scored before the season began.
“I spoke to the gaffer and he said he hadn’t really planned on playing me this much this season. So I am really happy about how many appearances I have made.
“I didn’t have a pre-season with the boys so I did get chucked in at the deep end slightly. But sometimes you have got to see if you can swim.
“I know I have got to keep on improving. I have to remain sharp and keep practising to show fans I can score at this level.
“I got a run of games and we had some good performances so I was pretty happy how that went.
“My focus now is Saturday, then the hard pre-season that I didn’t get last time.”
He added: “I don’t mind running. You can see that in the way I play. I am always having to dart behind and chase the ball.
“I have been told I run a bit funny. That’s the way I play, but I will work on my technique this summer. I am going to get a sprint coach to help me with it. I will probably do that in June.
“It’s all about speed. It’s very important as a footballer. Over 100m I am pretty quick, but in football it’s all about five to 10 yards maximum and I want to improve on that.”
After two home defeats, Stags head for relegation-threatened Bristol Rovers tomorrow and Palmer said: “I want us to pick up a result for the fans on Saturday. They have been fantastic with me for which I am grateful.
“It has taken time to get to know my surroundings, moving up here. Everything happened overnight. So I am thankful the fans have been patient and understanding with me and I hope I can repay them next season.
“Bristol Rovers are fighting for their lives and will be desperate to pick up all three points.
“We know we will get turned over if we are not 100 per cent.
“Look at the last two games. Cheltenham were trying to get safe and beat us, Torquay were trying to get safe and beat us and now it’s Bristol Rovers, It’s been a tough last three games.
“The table doesn’t lie at the end of the day. We just haven’t been consistent enough. The teams at the top get promoted for a reason. That’s what we want next season.”
In recent months, Palmer had struck up an excellent partnership with target man Matt Rhead.
Last weekend Rhead picked up a clean sweep of player of the year awards and Palmer said: “Matt deserved it as he works very hard. He grafts every day and has really come on this season.
“He is a very physical presence up there and I have learned to work off him. I really appreciate what he does.
“We have started to build a really good relationship over seven or eight games, scoring and creating goals for each other.”