Mansfield Town must focus on the job in hand of beating Forest Green and hope other results go their way says Rhys Oates

Mansfield Town top scorer Rhys Oates said Stags must focus solely on beating Forest Green Rovers in Saturday's final regular season game and not worry what is happening elsewhere.

Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 4:23 pm

Stags know a single point against a Rovers side who will be chasing the title, would be enough to secure a play-off place, but a win and two other results going for them could yet snatch Stags an unlikely automatic promotion place.

“It is a big game and we have just got to concentrate on us – the 18 that are on the bench and starting,” said Oates.

“We will concentrate on getting the three points and see what happens at the end of the game.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Rhys Oates - let's beat Forest Green and see where it takes us.

“I am confident. I think we've been confident we can win going into every game.

“All we need is a point for the play-offs but we're going to go and win the game and see what happens if Northampton and Bristol Rovers are going to drop points which would do it for us.

“We just hope other teams can do us favours.”

He added: “We believe we can do it.

“We've shown that in the last five months coming from second bottom in the league to being where we are now.

“It is an unbelievable achievement and we've proved we can win games, especially at home.

“If we win on Saturday we will have the joint best home record in the league.

“The fans play a big part in it. They have been amazing away from home too.

“I think there were more Mansfield fans than Salford fans there on Monday and they sang for the whole 90 minutes. They keep you going.

“It will be an amazing day. The fans have been class all season and we just want them to stick by us for the last game and see where it takes us.

“We are very good on the ball at home, we play football very well and are a lot more confident at home, though we've proved we can still win away too.

“We have won 13 of our last 14 home matches and without those we wouldn't be playing for anything now.”

Forest Green are without the injured Matty Stevens, but Oates knows how good fellow his striker, Jamille Matt, is.

“The likes of Jamille Matt are always going to cause problems with the size of him and he has a lot of assists as well as goals,” he said.

“So you can never think because the other lad is out for the season that they're not going to be a threat going forwards.

“So we still need to be defensively strong and take our chances when we get them down the other end.”

He added: “We would like this to be the last game of the season – in a positive way. But, if it's not, then three more games, we will just take it as it comes.

“We know the place will be bouncing – it has been bouncing for months. Hopefully it will be a good day.”Oates has just returned from a thigh injury and said: “I am feeling good.

“We did well to get my quad right so quick. I have had no problems with it since I got back playing and the rest of me feels good.”

Oates now has 11 goals from a fantastic season and he said: “The lads have been class and helped me settle in from day one.

“It took me a while to get going. I think I only got one in the first 14/15 games.

“But it was just a confidence thing, and once I got that second goal they just started flowing in and my confidence grew.

“I think it was just getting used to playing with new players. We had a few new ones in and that's all it took. Once we gelled we showed what we could do.”

He said he will feel no nerves on Saturday, having experienced every sort of big game, culminating in promotion last season with Hartlepool United.

“I have experienced it all in the last few years,” he said.

“I have been in a few relegation battles and then obviously last year we had a chance of automatic at Hartlepool with five games left, which got away from us. But then with the play-offs it all went well in the end and we managed to do it.

“I don't feel nerves pre-match. I used to but that comes with experience and you get used to atmospheres.

“I feel like I have played in quite a few big games now and I am used to it.

“You just have to try to treat it as another game and go into it full of confidence. You can't get over-excited or too nervous, just focused on the 90 minutes.”

Oates knows that promotion with Stags would also see him return to play his first club, Barnsley, who have been relegated from the Championship.

“It was a shame for them to go down – it was a tough season for them,” he said.

“But if we go up it would be nice to go back to where I grew up playing.

“As a second year scholar there I got academy player of the year, had a good season and got my pro from there.

“I think I made nine appearances, all off the bench, no starts. But it was good to get some experience in League One at a young age.”