Hawkins believes Clough will get best out of him at Mansfield

Oli Hawkins has signed for Mansfield Town.

Oli Hawkins has signed a two-year deal at League Two club Mansfield Town. Photo: Mansfield Town FC - Credit: Mansfield Town FC

Oli Hawkins says he moved to League Two club Mansfield after Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook had made it clear he was not part of his plans.

Hawkins, 29, arrived on a free transfer from Portsmouth last summer and scored just one goal in 10 starts and 13 substitute appearances for a Blues side that finished ninth in League One.

The 6ft 4in striker, who still had a year left on his Portman Road deal, was subsequently sold for a nominal fee. 

“I had a two-year deal at Ipswich, but a new manager has come in and just said he is looking elsewhere and wanted to rebuild a new team,” he told the Mansfield Chad, Hawkins the 18th first team player to depart Portman Road this summer.

“So it was a decision of staying there and not really playing as much or look elsewhere, go out, enjoy it again and get game time.

“I just realised that at the age I am I just want to get out there and play football, prove to people that I'm a good player and especially go to a team that are looking to get promoted.

“I weighed my options up here and looked at the manager and the team itself and thought where I could get the best out of myself with formations and style of play and the club's ambitions. I just thought it sounds like a good move and a good plan and hopefully it's successful.”

Hawkins continued: “I am from the non-league and have played mostly every league right up to League One and just really battled my way up.

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“I got my chance at Dagenham & Redbridge at League Two level where I scored my first league goal here at Mansfield ironically.

“Then they got relegated and I was back in the Conference. I worked hard and got my break to Portsmouth where I had three seasons which led me to Ipswich, again looking to go to a promotion-winning team.

“Unfortunately that hasn't gone the way I would have wanted and now I am looking to come here and have success."

He added: "My aim is to play in the Championship and get as high as I can.

“My main reason for choosing Mansfield is that it's a team that wants to get back up there and I feel like they have huge potential to get promoted to League One and then look to go again in League One.

“I am still an old-fashioned sort of centre forward target man. I like the balls in the box and the ball getting forward and just cause a bit of havoc. The way the manager (Nigel Clough) has come across and explained things, it looks like that chance is going to be there for me.

"There are a lot of teams out there playing modern-day football and playing pass out from the back, but this could be a real chance to get the best out of me.

“I have played in formations where I am the only striker and had to try to do it all myself and I have played up front with another striker and players around me who like to score goals and tried to assist them. I am a team player. I want to score goals but I want to assist others.

“But I am not just a 'head on a stick' sort of player. I actually prefer playing football and getting it to my feet. I wouldn't want a team to count me out on that.

"I want to get to a target of double figures in goals and hopefully assist the striker next to me or the winger."

Ipswich have three senior striker options in James Norwood, Kayden Jackson and Aaron Drinan as it stands, with the likes of Colby Bishop (Accrington Stanley) and Charlie Wyke (Sunderland) understood to be among potential summer targets.