Mansfield Town striker Oli Hawkins 'gutted' to miss crucial Carlisle United clash with suspension

Oli Hawkins will miss Tuesday night's vital League Two home clash with struggling Carlisle United after picking up a fifth booking of the season at Crawley Town on Saturday.

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 3:30 pm
Oli Hawkins opens the scoring at Crawley last weekend. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger

Boss Nigel Clough had three players precariously on four yellows on a day when they reached the suspension cut-off point of 19 games, so played safe and sat two on the bench – George Maris and Ollie Clarke - but Hawkins played and paid the price.

“We thought by putting Oli Hawkins up front it would reduce his chances of getting booked but he half-miscontrolled one, left his foot in, and it was a yellow card – no complaints about that,” said Clough.

“We will miss him for the Carlisle game. Hopefully we'll have enough cover to deal with that.

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“If he gets an injury at some stage we have got to learn to deal with being without him for the odd game. Hopefully it won't be too many.”

He added: “He was the one we were least worried about getting booked being up front.

“George Maris and Ollie Clarke have to make tackles in midfield so that was one of the reasons those two didn't play.

“Unfortunately it didn't work out as we hoped.

“But Oli was important again on Saturday – he scored a goal and made a goal, was captain for the day, and went back up front and got himself suspended. It was quite an eventful day for him.”

Hawkins said: “I am gutted to be fair.

“The manager told me I was on four yellow cards before the game – I didn't even know that.

“Playing at the back you don't realise with all the tackles you make.

“I told him I'd not been yellow carded up front for many season. I don't really get yellow cards or suspended.

“But funnily enough the first tackle was a yellow card – I was just unlucky.”

Last weekend's 1-0 home win over Walsall ended a run of 12 EFL games without victory and Clough warned: “Keith Millen has gone in there now and I think they will be fighting for their lives.

“I have never seen an easy game in football, but especially in the last 12 months in League Two.

“We've not had an easy one anywhere and I don't think this one will be any different.”

Fans who buy tickets for Tuesday and the home clash with Salford City will get a free ticket for the Boxing Day clash with Hartlepool United.

Although the injury crisis is now over, Stags still have two players on the treatment table – and Tuesday will come too soon for them.

“Richard Nartey is back training now and just needs a game or two,” said Clough.

“After he has done a full week's training we will try to get him one organised – it could be next week or the week after.

“Danny Johnson is still in the gym. He's hopefully going to get out on the grass this week and start his rehab in earnest with some running.

“We'll see how that goes, but he won't be available for a week or two yet.”