After playing in the Championship, skilful midfielder Paul Digby is relishing the battles of playing for Mansfield Town in League Two this season.
Following spells at Barnsley and Ipswich Town, the 22-year-old former England U20 player admits he may have to adapt his game at times for League Two but was happy to spurn opportunities to stay at a higher level to join the Steve Evans revolution this summer.
“It was just the challenge of it all,” he smiled ahead of Saturday’s opening game at Crewe. “The gaffer and Rayns (assistant Paul Raynor) spoke to me as soon as the season had finished and it was nice to get that sense that you were wanted.
“They were really eager to get me in and talk to me, which was really nice, feeling you were going be part of their plans, and that really attracted me.
“They are very ambitious in what they do and spoke to me in such a good way it turned my head massively, making me think this is where I want to go and what I want to do.”
He added: “I will give 100 per cent every game. I have the same attitude towards training and games.
“I am in midfield which I think is my best position. I have got an engine and I will go box to box or, if it’s a different position where it’s more attacking or more defensive, I can do that as well.
“As much as I love getting on the ball and playing, I know at times I will have to adapt my game and it might be more about being an aerial threat that I bring to the team or more of a defensive role I have to bring to the team and I can do that.
“I will also have to adapt my game considering what different teams we’re playing as they may have different strengths and weaknesses and I have just got to adapt accordingly.”
Digby admitted he was very surprised to see how well run things were at this level of the game.
“It has been a nice surprise almost as it’s so professional,” he said.
“To be fair it has exceeded my expectations. It’s been brilliant coming in.
“The staff have been fantastic and so professional in how they’ve gone about everything from the training to diet, it’s been quite amazing some of the things they’ve done with us so far.
“The fans here are fantastic as well. When we were out in Malta I couldn’t believe there was so many fans there. It was so good to see and we appreciate all the support they are giving us.
“It was fantastic to get away early and helped bond us together as a group. The facilities were fantastic and it was a really good trip to go on.”
He added: “Just coming in and getting to know the lads is a big part of it, coming to a new club.
“I think we’ve gelled really well so far. We have a good blend, some younger players and some really good experience in the team.
“We have some really good, strong leaders in the group, a bit of pace in the team, which will need in League Two, some really good footballer, and good organisers on the pitch.
“Blending all those together I think we have a really strong squad.”
Now Digby can’t wait for the big kick-off at Crewe.
“It is going to be fast and furious and a bit of a rollercoaster,” he said.
“As long as we stick together and keep wanting to get better, keep listening to the gaffer and Rayns, keep improving throughout the season, I think we’ll do well.
“I just keep trying to improve and adapt every day. I believe in myself – I think you’ve got to have that as a footballer.
“At the same time it is a great squad we’ve got here. Everyone is hungry to be in that starting XI.
“I’m just working hard and am fully focused on giving my all for the team.
“I have been in some pretty competitive midfields before and they’re all good players we’ve got here. You look at every position and we’ve got two, three, four good footballers in every position. “That’s good as you need to be at the top of your game and you can’t afford to have an off day. You need to be fully focused all the time.”