Matt Green is determined to take up where he left off as Mansfield Town’s goalscoring hero.
After a dream move to Championship club Birmingham two years ago turned into an injury nightmare, Green (28) last week agreed to a surprise return to the One Call Stadium to become part of boss Adam Murray’s exciting plans for next season.
The striker is fondly remembered by Stags’ supporters for his exploits in the club’s title-winning Conference Premier campaign two years ago when the striker won the divisional Golden Boot award after scoring 25 league goals.
Fan were clamouring for his return, though few dared to believe he would actually come back.
But on the reasons for signing, Green said: “It’s just to pick up where I left off in terms of scoring goals and I know the fans have always taken kindly to me.
“On top of that Adam Murray is the manager now and it just seemed right. I obviously had two great seasons here, so you always want to be somewhere where you’re going to be happy.
I’m probably in the best shape of my life right now
“I love the area and everyone here seems to have looked after me, so it’s a pleasure to be back.
“We (me and my family) would like to like to live round here, so it does feel like coming home.
“I can’t put it into words what it means to be back. It’s something that has been ongoing for a couple of months now.
“The chairman has done everything possible to bring me to the club and to obviously come back and play for the gaffer and in front of all the fans is great.”
Despite being sidelined for the vast majority of the 2014/15 campaign with his knee injury, Green says he is now fully fit and can’t wait for the season to start.
Green suffered knee ligament damage in training at Birmingham but his problems were compounded when his rehabilitation was interrupted by the discovery of fracture across his knee cap, leaving him sidelined for 16 months.
“I feel fit and ready to go and I just can’t wait to get back out onto the pitch now,” he said.
“I played about four reserve games towards the end of last season and you’ve got no place to hide in terms of fitness because it’s all on heart rate monitors. If you’re not working hard enough then the coaches will pull you up on it.
“I think they (Birmingham) have built me up to be structurally better to play the game. I’m probably in the best shape of my life right now. I’ve still got my pace and I’m sure that I’ll be able to get a few goals.”
Green is probably best remembered for that late match-winning strike in the Stags’ nail-biting win over Hereford United in the crucial penultimate game of the Conference-winning season.
He then moved to St Andrews and scored two goals in a dozen appearances before the injury.
Manager Murray said: “Both myself and the chairman have fought long and hard in order to beat off competition from League One and Championship clubs to capture the signature of Matt Green.
“It’s a statement of our intent going into next season and it’s great to have him back on board. I thank the chairman for making this happen.”