CJ Hamilton is enjoying his new role as Mansfield Town’s right wing back.
After being used mostly as a left winger last season, new boss David Flitcroft has elected to harness the terrifying pace of Hamilton from the back this term and in Tuesday’s 6-1 hammering of Accrington Stanley, Hamilton set up the fifth goal for Danny Rose before netting the sixth himself at the end of a delightful 26-pass move.
Hamilton said he is also learning every day about the defensive side of his job – and enjoying every minute of his new challenge.
“Being a right wing back, it’s about positioning defensively – you’re part of a back five at times – but I am enjoying it,” he said.
“I have adapted quicker than I thought I would.
“I want to get myself more advanced up the pitch and that’s what we are working on at the minute. And I want to try to get more goals and assists.
“The gaffer has been telling me how to slot in. And Futch (assistant manager and former defender Ben Futcher) has been helping me as well, telling me how to get my position right so you don’t give yourself too much to do. I fancy myself in a one-to-one battle with anyone.
“I am more confident now than when I joined the club – I believe in myself a lot more.”
Hamilton said he was fitter than ever after the pre-season work and all the players were now strong enough to keep up the pace until well after the end of games.
“Pre-season was built on a lot of fitness-based stuff,” he said. “The manager wanted to get everyone running faster and stronger and last throughout a game.
“But people now look like they could run for another half-hour after a game, we are so fit and want to keep going.
“I feel a lot fitter myself. I’m covering a lot more distance in games at a lot higher speeds – I do a lot more sprints than I was doing last year.
“The manager encourages us and we want to run for him.”
On his goal against Accrington, he added: “It was 100 per cent one of the best goals I’ve ever been involved in.
“If you look back at the amount of passes, everyone was getting on the ball and trusting each other. It was crazy how we ended up finishing it as well.
“I look back on yesterday and I was buzzing with the whole team work effort put into the goal and, obviously, for me to finish it off.
“It was a lot better when I watched it back as I didn’t realise there were that many passes. When you are out there you are not counting passes, just trying to get your own movement right.”
With 11 goals, two wins and a draw so far, Stags will hope to continue their superb start to the season when Colchester United visit on Saturday.
“Colchester have always been good when they have come here,” said Hamilton.
“They are a tough team to beat. But if we play our game I think we can get all three points.
“You don’t want anyone to ever come to your back garden and beat you. We want every team to come here and be fearful of a tough game.”