Raynes ready for Stags home debut after Oxford switch

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Defender Michael Raynes this week teamed up once again with winger Junior Brown at Mansfield after both had begun the season at League Two rivals Oxford United before finding themselves frozen out of the side.

Raynes made a solid debut at Burton last week and is now looking forward to a home debut against Exeter tomorrow when a £7 advance ticket offer should bring the fans flooding in.

“Me and Junior went through a very similar thing at Oxford,” he said. “You can relate to players who went through the same as you. Now I have a fresh opportunity I want to take it with both hands.”

On his fall from grace at Oxford, he said; “It’s happened to me a million times. Fresh people come in and want their own ideas.

“I always say that if you’ve bought a house, you want to decorate it your way. That’s the way football is. I try not to take it too personally.

“People want to put their own mark on things and, reading between the lines, there are going to be some big changes at Oxford.

“If you face doesn’t fit, you face doesn’t fit. You move on elsewhere.

“Twice I have been out of contract and it’s not a nice feeling not knowing where your money is going to come from. So when you get the sniff of an opportunity, it’s always welcome.

“I am a northern boy, so it’s great to come back up here after playing down south.

“My family are up here and I was house-sharing down there. So I will now get to see my family a bit more.

“It was tough at Oxford for the first year, trying to get my head round it. But it was killing me in the end to see my family once a week. That’s no way to live.”

He added: “Obviously the result didn’t go our way on Saturday but, overall, I think we played some good stuff.

“In the first half we were up against some of the worst weather conditions I have ever had to deal with, the wind in your face. They had two shots and scored two goals, one a deflected free kick.

“But, as a back four, I don’t think there’s much more we could have done.

“We came away very disappointed not to get anything out of it and, to be fair, we should have won it. But we move on and try to put it right this weekend.

“We’ve had a good week and now we are looking forward to Saturday. It will be nice to get my home debut and I hope we can get a first win on the board.”

Raynes said that few of the Stags side were strangers to him.

“At this level you play against each other here, there and everywhere,” he said. “It’s a mutual thing. Most people know most people at this level. So it’s been easy settling in and the lads have welcomed me with open arms.

“I hope we can gel quickly and have a good second half to the season.

“As a defender I have played against Billy (Kee) and I know he is a handful. He will score goals and I hope he can hit the ground running.”

Despite Stags being at the wrong end of League Two, Raynes sees no reason why they can’t shoot up the table.

He said: “We are not worried. There is a lot of football to be played still.

“There is not really a stand-out team. Look at Burton last weekend. They are second yet would I swap anyone in their dressing room for ours? I don’t think I would.

“Anyone can beat anyone in this league. We just need to put a run together.

“It always helps to have a nice crowd and I hope we can give them something to cheer about.”