Rhys Oates discusses his time at Hartlepool United and the decision to join Mansfield Town ahead of return to the Suit Direct Stadium

Rhys Oates says his time with Hartlepool United provided him with the best day of his footballing life but he has no regrets about the decision to leave the Suit Direct Stadium.

By Joe Ramage
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 2:00 pm

Oates shocked supporters in the summer when he made the decision to join League Two rivals Mansfield Town having played a significant role in helping Pools earn promotion back to the Football League.

Oates was named Pools’ player of the year after a stellar run of form which saw him score 13 goals in the final 17 games of the season as Dave Challinor’s side made it to the National League promotion final.

But Oates followed strike partner Luke Armstrong out of the Suit Direct Stadium in the summer ahead of their return to League Two and has enjoyed a solid start to his time with Nigel Clough at the One Call Stadium.

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Rhys Oates played a key role in Hartlepool United's promotion back to the Football League last season. Picture by FRANK REID

And Oates is readying himself for a return to Pools this evening admitting it will be nice to see some familiar faces.

“I enjoyed last season there. I scored a lot of goals and promotion topped it off. It will be nice to go back there and see some old faces,” Oates told Chad.

“It will be nice to go back there and see some old faces, see the old lads, and it should be a good day – but hopefully we take the three points.

“I have to try to see it as just another game, but obviously playing a big part in last season's promotion with them, that was probably the best day of my life in terms of football.”

Rhys Oates looks ahead to his Hartlepool United return with Mansfield Town (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

But despite his success, and status earned with Pools supporters, Oates believed he made the right decision to join Mansfield for two key reasons.

“It was a very tough decision and not one that I took lightly,” said Oates.

“But I just thought Mansfield is a big club with aspirations to get promoted. Having just had a promotion, I wanted that feeling again.

“Also, it's closer to home for me, so it's nice to be around the family all the time. That was one of the main reasons too.

“It feels like my decision has been justified, especially playing week in, week out and getting the goals. I can' really complain about the decision I made.”

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