Rakish Bingham returns to Hartlepool United tomorrow with one aim – to help Mansfield Town to three more crucial safety points against the League’s in-form bottom club.
The young striker enjoyed every minutes of his time there on loan in January and made a lot of friends, but he said all that would be put to one side as he tries to help his parent club push the North-East outfit closer to the Conference trapdoor.
Bingham, signed from Wigan Athletic earlier in the season, will also be hoping for a rare start, a sore hip permitting, after bagging the late winner as a substitute in Tuesday’s 2-1 home win over AFC Wimbledon.
“I was delighted to be the matchwinner and push us forward,” he said. “I took the momentum into a challenge as I shot and my hip is still sore. Looking back at the video I can see why.
“I came on with 15 or 16 minutes to go and just the thrill of getting the winning goal was all that matters in the end.
“I thought the substitutions were vital in the last couple of games. There is a really positive vibe in the camp.
“The gaffer was hurting and we were all hurting over the Bury performance as we know we are better than that. We made sure we put it right on Tuesday.”
Stags are eight points clear of the drop zone with nine games to go and he said: “It will all go down to the wire for who gets relegated and who stays up.
“As a team the focus must stay on us. As long as we keep picking up points I can’t see any worries for us.”
On his time at Hartlepool, who have just won two away games on the bounce to raise hopes he added: “I had a great time there and I made some good friends down there. I have a good relationship with the manager and the fans.
I have learned quite a lot since coming from U21 football to men’s first team football
“But I will put my personal stuff aside, focus on the team and hope we can win there. I need to focus on Mansfield and what we can do.
“It is always very windy there and it will be tough conditions. But we will both be playing on the same pitch and we have just got to handle it better than they do.
“I had a feeling they were going to get some results and push up and my feeling was right. There is a positive vibe in the camp.
“But I have always been a Mansfield player. I went there for the experience and it turned out to be a positive thing for both clubs, the gaffer and me as well. Now I am here fighting for Mansfield.
“When I got to the club, confidence seemed very low. But Ronnie Moore came in as manager and his experience has really helped a very young group of players there.
“I don’t think they should be where they are as they are a huge club not long out of League One. I always knew they were going to turn it round.
“I was a little low on confidence at the time. You wonder if you can do it at this level, not just at Mansfield. It helped me get that confidence back.
“I don’t have any grudges or bitterness. I just felt I needed to be playing first team football to aid my development and help Mansfield in the future as I need game time and experience.”
With Billy Kee’s loan from Scunthorpe set to expire early next month, Bingham knows he will move up the pecking order of strikers.
“I am ready whether he stays or goes,” he said. “I need to focus on me and what I think I can do to help the team.
“Billy has been great for us since he’s been here. He is a great character to have around and has had a positive impact on the team.
“We are all in it to win it together. We are all good off the pitch too which helps. We all stand together. One man won’t do it alone.
“I have learned quite a lot since coming from U21 football to men’s first team football. On a personal level it’s been a positive season for me with a lot of ups and downs. I have learned an awful lot that helps me as a player and on a personal level as well.”