Mansfield Town’s season ended in disappointment last Sunday. After a long campaign which nearly ended in automatic promotion, they fell short in the play-offs.
The Stags should really have finished in the top-three, confirming their place in League One next season. But after dropping out following a final-day loss against Milton Keynes Dons, they had to face the play-offs.
In the first leg at Newport, it started well. CJ Hamilton finished off a fine counter-attack move to put them 1-0 up. But the game ended 1-1 ahead of the match at Field Mill.
Neither team could break the deadlock in the second leg and the game went to penalties. Hamilton scored his penalty but Mansfield lost 5-3 on spot kicks.
After failing to win promotion, Hamilton’s future is in doubt. In January, the skilful winger was linked with a move to Aston Villa, West Brom and Preston (Chad).
But has he done enough since then to get the Villans to rekindle their interest? Hamilton finished the season with impressive figures; 14 goals and nine assists in 55 games.
However, Hamilton’s performances have dipped slightly since January. Perhaps the transfer talk has affected his game but the 24-year-old was not quite able to continue his electric early-season form.
Nonetheless, Hamilton has earned his chance at a higher level. But will Aston Villa take a punt on him? If they win promotion, they will almost certainly look at alternative targets.
Hamilton might get a Championship offer but he could be forced to work his way up via League One first.