Despite interest from other clubs, Mansfield Town midfielder Alex MacDonald said he had always wanted to stay at the One Call Stadium after today signing a new two-year deal.
MacDonald admitted his form dipped when manager Steve Evans quit with 12 games to go last season, but replacement boss David Flitcroft stuck by him and now he wants to repay that faith with another promotion push.
Negotiations have been going on for several weeks, but the former Oxford United man said: “It was always my intention to sign. It’s been no secret I’ve taken this club to my heart.
MACDONALD SIGNS NEW CONTACT
“It’s a club I am really enjoying playing for. I am delighted.
“There was definitely interest from elsewhere, but there was nothing that turned my head. I was always definitely wanting to stay here and get this contract sorted and over the line.
“It’s been done and now we can forget about all that - and taking phone calls from my agent every day. My sole focus now is on being successful at Mansfield Town.
“It’s been a long time coming. Negotiations have been going on for a long time now, so I was happy to get it over the line. It’s a great club and I am really enjoy playing for it. It’s an exciting time.”
Although missing out on the play-offs at the death last season, the club’s lofty ambitions have ensured MacDonald wanted to stay part of it as well as his and his family’s love of the area.
“Obviously the end of last season didn’t go how we wanted it to,” he said.
“But we are up and ready and we are raring to go again. Hopefully we can enjoy a good pre-season and really crack on this year.
“There has been no secret about the ambition of this club over the last 18 months since I’ve been here and I am desperate to get the club where we all want it to go. You take all these factors into consideration.
“I’ve loved living in the area. We have settled here and me and my family are really happy. It ticks all the boxes for me.
“The fixtures are coming out which is when it all starts to get real – and we are back in from Monday.
“We want to get a good pre-season under our belts and hopefully kick on.”
On his own form last season, he added: “Personally I want more of the same really.
“I was happy with my level of performances for the large part of the season.
“I had a little sticky spell when the new manager came in, but he stuck by me and wanted me to stay.
“I am looking forward to repaying the faith he’s shown in me – hopefully by giving a lot of good performances and a lot of wins next season.
“Also, all of us playing in the midfield want to try to chip in with as many goals as we possibly can – and I will be no different next year.”
A utility player who can play wide or central midfield or in the hole, MacDonald said he had no positional preference or any opinion on where the side needed bolstering.
“As long as I am on the pitch and part of it I am happy,” he said.
“We have got good players in all positions, so it’s not for me to say where should strengthen. We have a strong squad as it is and I am delighted to be part of it.”
MacDonald believes the sky is the limit for Stags next season, but won’t be making any rash predictions.
“I don’t think there is any limit as to where we could finish,” he said.
“Maybe we could win the league? But we are not going to come out shouting about being this, that or the other.
“We are going to do our jobs, train hard every day, and hopefully all the work we do on the training ground will result in a lot more wins.”
Mansfield Town return to pre-season training on Monday and MacDonald can’t wait to get stuck in.
He said: “Before Monday I just want to get a little bit more running done, a bit more work done, and enjoy a bit of down time. It’s going to be another long, hard nine months of training and playing games.
“This year was a little bit more about rest for me than really trying to get into shape like I had to do previous years. I’ve had a lot more rest this time and now I am desperate to get back in and start training again.
“But we have had to come in over the summer doing a certain amount of sessions and certain players have had to do more than others.
“Every manager has their different views on what they want to do and everyone has been in and done their bits.”