Joel Byrom aims to steer Stags up League Two table

Joel Byrom - Pic Chris Holloway

Joel Byrom - Pic Chris Holloway

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New signing Joel Byrom says he wants to help Mansfield Town climb the League Two table.

Byrom, one of four new faces at the Stags to the start the new year, signed from Northampton after helping the Cobblers to the League Two title last season.

The 30-year-old midfielder said: “The aim is just to push on and climb the table, but you have got to take one game at a time. There are teams who have been in worse positions than us at Christmas who managed to make a real run for the play-offs and push up the league, but we have got to take one game at a time.

“Once you get on a winning run it becomes natural, confidence builds and you end up winning games. At the end of last season at Northampton we weren’t playing great but we were still picking up wins and draws because teams were already beaten before they got out there.”

Byrom, who made his debut alongside Jake Kean, Ben Whiteman and Yoann Arquin in the 1-0 win at Blackpool on Monday, said he was looking forward to making his first home appearance against Crewe on Saturday.

“I am looking forward to it. We are on a bit of a run now — a draw against Doncaster (I was here and we dominated for the majority of it) and then the win against Blackpool. We can take that into Saturday.”

Byrom said he was keen to join the Stags when he heard of the link after falling out of favour at the Cobblers when Rob Page took over as manager from Chris Wilder.

“As soon as I heard of the interest I was interested to come and see. I spoke to the manager (Steve Evans) and then it happened quite quickly from there. Before I knew it I was in here training ready to play on Monday (at Blackpool).

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“When I wasn’t playing at Northampton I was looking to get a move. The interest the manager (Steve Evans) showed in me, it just felt right and I normally go with my gut (feeling). Different managers have their own ideas, I didn’t fit into the plans there (at Northampton), but that’s football for you.

“It was my time to move on. You have got to make sure you are playing football as much as you can because your career doesn’t last too long.

“Alex Ravel at Northampton, who had played under Steve Evans at Rotherham, couldn’t speak highly enough of him. I came to meet him myself and then my mind was made up straight away.”

Byrom has enjoyed his time at the One Call Stadium so far. “I have loved it. It was great to get a win on my debut and the lads have been brilliant, helping me to settle in,” he said.

“The away support (at Blackpool), you could hear them all the way through the game. They were brilliant from the first minute to the last.”

The midfielder took most of the Stags corners and free kicks at Blackpool. “I have taken set pieces wherever I have been,” he said. “I work on them in training and it is something I have always liked doing.

“All the new lads did well (at Blackpool). It is not easy coming into a new side, but the rest of the lads have helped us along the way and been great with us.”

He played alongside Stags’ Lee Collins at Northampton and said the defender “was very unlucky not to get a new contract before he came here (Mansfield).

Asked what he could bring to the Stags, Byrom said: “I am consistent, have a decent left foot and am a passer of the ball. I work 100% for the team all the time. I make sure I work hard, that’s the first thing, and then look to play on top of that.”

Byrom started his career at Blackburn, before dropping into non-league.

“I had sort of lost my love for it (football) a little bit,” he said. “I was working full-time. Then an old friend of the family asked me to help out and get playing football again. i started enjoying it and it took off from there.”

The midfielder then helped Stevenage back into the Football League and after spells at Preston North End and Oldham Athletic he joined Northampton, playing a crucial role in their charge to the League Two title last season.

He recalled: “When people weren’t getting paid, staff and players, it brought the whole club together. Everyone united. When things started going wrong behind the scenes, that’s when the playing staff picked up and from Christmas we didn’t lose a game.

“Wilder is a very good, lets you play with freedom and a lot of very attacking football. His recruitment for Northmapton in the last couple of years was very good.”