Mansfield Town midfielder Otis Khan feels he has a point to prove after being overlooked by former boss David Flitcroft for the run-in to what ended up a failed attempt at promotion.
Khan starred for the Stags earlier in the season after his move from Yeovil Town but, after being sidelined by an injury, Khan only played five times after the turn of the year and became a peripheral figure.
“After six months out, the only thing I want to do now is play and prove myself to the new manager,” he said.
“I thought I would have played a lot more games last season but things didn’t work out as I thought they would.
“So, this season coming up I want to play a lot more games.
“From the start of last season up until Christmas time I thought it was really good.
“I did well, scored some goals, and the team was in a good position and on an unbeaten run.
“Unfortunately I got the injury and was out for two months.
“Since I came back I didn’t really get a chance to get near the team. It was a bit painful to be honest as I wanted to try and help the club as much as I could. But I am still here to do so next season.”
He added: “I think I did all my rehab really well when I was injured and I came back really fit and strong. But I just don’t think I was given that chance again to prove myself in the team.
“It’s almost like a clean slate for me now and I can go again at the start of the season.
“Obviously the new manager knows what I am about and what I can do. So it’s just up to me to show him now and why I deserve to be in that starting XI this year.
“The six months I had when I wasn’t playing was really painful for myself and I didn’t enjoy it one bit.
“Seeing the lads out there playing really well just made me want to get into the team even more. When I didn’t it was an upsetting time for me.
“Now I will use that to my advantage and do everything I can to get into that starting XI.
“Sitting from the side I knew I could go out and make an impact in all the games, but I just didn’t get the chance to do so.
“Watching from the stand is never a good time for a player, but while I was watching I was learning as well and I knew I could make an impact.
“I just hope I am in the manager’s plans next year.”
With so little football under his belt this year, Khan has abandoned thoughts of a summer break and is working hard to make sure he can make an impact.
“It’s not really a break for me. I didn’t play for a while when all the other lads played, so I don’t really deserve a break at the moment,” he said.
“I am just training every day getting ready for pre-season.
“That is a personal programme I am on after speaking to people in the club for little bits and doing my own stuff behind the scenes away from the club too.
“I am just working hard and getting ready for pre-season so I am firing on all cylinders.
“I went away on holiday to Mexico with my girlfriend for 10 days, so it’s now purely about getting ready for football.”
Khan is happy with the appointment of John Dempster as the new manager.
“I think it’s a good appointment. He knows the club inside out. He’s been here for years and played here as a player,” he said.
“He’s been academy manager and watches all the games, so he knows what’s needed to be a Stag and what is expected when you put on those colours on a Saturday.”
Khan also believes having the continuity of so many players still under contract from last year will help their next promotion drive.
“It won’t be like coming in pre-season and you don’t know anybody,” he said.
“You all know how each other plays and what effects different players have on a game. It’s good for everyone.
“I will certainly be trying to affect the game a bit more when I am playing and give everything for the badge, which I always do.”