Chris Clements is desperate to hold onto his Mansfield Town shirt after finally winning it back following last season’s disappointment.
It was well-documented how upset Clements was to lose his place last year and his angry reaction to his demotion.
But a year on he feels he has matured and knuckled down to again force his way into the side.
“It’s always good to get a few games under your belt,” he said. “Obviously I was disappointed not to start the season, but it’s one of those things. You have got to fight for your place – I have fought for mine and I think I have done well since I got in there.
“It feels very downgrading not to be picked when you feel you are doing well and you don’t get that chance. It’s hard to take. But I am learning how to deal with it better.
“I have sorted my head out from last season and got my head down.
“If I keep doing what I am doing then I hope my performances will keep me in the team. We have a lot of good central midfield players here with Adam Murray, Keiran Murtagh and Anthony Howell all wanting my shirt.
“I think my game is improving. I am working harder off the ball from last year.
“It’s good when the gaffer has got faith in me and thinks I will be a good player and go higher.”
Clements is currently playing well in a midfield trio, but admits he needs to weigh in with a long overdue first goal for the club.
“Two of us sit in there, you get forward when you can, but you must make sure your defence is protected,” he said. “With Jamie McGuire in there, he is a good player to play alongside.
“I have not got a goal for Mansfield yet and I need to chip in with a few. I need to start getting forward more.”
Clements and the Stags squad head to early strugglers York tomorrow, looking to extend their unbeaten run to six games and he said: “ “York is always a tough place to go. But the way we are playing now we know we are good enough to beat them. We need to start turning our draws into wins.”
Clements does feel the slightly calmer waters of League Two suit his game rather than the frantic action of the Conference, though that wasn’t the case last weekend when Newport and Mansfield slugged out a real bruiser.
He said “I didn’t play at Newport last year but it was physical. This year it was just crazy football with tackles flying in everywhere.
“But League Two does seem to be better quality. There is hustle and bustle but there is also more of getting the ball down and trying to play which suits me.”