Mansfield Town defender Matt Preston is unsure what reception he will receive at his old club on Saturday, but doesn’t have a bad word to say about his time at Swindon Town.
Preston was signed at Swindon by his current Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft last season and duly followed his manager to the One Call Stadium in the summer.
Now, ahead of his first time back at the County Ground, he said: “I was very thankful for the gaffer taking me on back then as a young player coming from Walsall.
“Moving from your parent club, your mentality towards football completely changes. When you come through the system at a club you’re always seen as a young player.
“When you move on, the new club sees you almost as an established player. It gives you more confidence. It’s all to do with mentality.
“In the manager’s eyes I can see I might have been a bit of a gamble. But he took the gamble and hopefully for him it paid off.”
Preston is looking forward to Saturday, saying: “It’s added spice going back to your old club.
“But I don’t hold any bad thoughts towards Swindon. They treated me like one of their own from when I joined.
“But of course I want to go there and win. Who doesn’t want to beat the team they’ve been at?
“The players, staff and fans treated me so well and it will be good to go back and see a few of the old players that I played with. I’ve had a few messages off a few of them saying they will give me some stick so we’ll see how it goes!
“I am not sure what sort of reception I will get there. I am hoping a positive one. We will have to see how it goes on the day.
“I can understand if it’s a bad one and I can understand if it’s a good one.
“They have made some good signings since last season. The new manager was always going to do that.”
With no game last weekend, Stags ticked over with a friendly at Birmingham City.
“It was a good test for us. I can see why the gaffer wanted to play the game,” said Preston.
“We have not been getting the results we wanted from a few of the games and I think to have been given the weekend off when things are not going quite the way you want them to would have been tricky.
“It was one of those games where you have to be self-motivated to play in it – and I think we were.
“They put up quite a good team and it was a good game.
“We needed to keep playing, keep doing the right things, and if we keep playing the way we have been the results will turn.”
Stags have a fine defensive record this season and are still unbeaaten away from home.
Preston said: “The number one thing for me is being drilled on shape, where to be when they have the ball in regard to a defensive shape, knowing where each player has to be when you lose the ball, the rough shape we have to fall back into, and being tough to break down.”
He added: “It feels too long since we played a League game and it will be good to get back to it this Saturday and hopefully start winning some games.”