Swindon return for Mansfield Town boss Flitcroft

David Flitcroft.
David Flitcroft.

David Flitcroft returns to his former club on Saturday to find a Swindon Town side, like the Stags, searching for some consistency.

But Stags have an unbeaten away record this season to defend at the County ground.

“They have chopped and changed since I left and haven’t really had a settled team,” said Flitcroft.

“There is a spine of certain players but otherwise there have been a lot changes to the team and the system over the last month, playing 4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-3-3, probably just trying to find the best formula and consistency in performance.

“Over the last six weeks they have had a mixed bag of form. That has shown in team selections and different shapes.

“Phil Brown is trying to find a solution as we all are.

“Like all managers you have sleepless nights trying to find the solutions. Phil is an incredibly experienced manager who will try to find that formula.

“They are just inconsistent at the minute but they have a lot of threat and quality players in the team.”

Flitcroft believes he did a good job at Swindon before choosing to move to Mansfield 10 games from the end of last season.

He said: “I enjoyed a good spell there and we were wholly committed to the project. I am big family man and I left them for six months.

“My mum is a big part of my life and I didn’t really see here for six months, which was tough.

“When we went in there it was flat, it was low, after relegation and we built the team and infrastructure up again, which isn’t easy, and got them into the play-offs.

“Me and Futch stayed down there, lived down there 24/7, and re-built a squad that had just been relegated.

“Sometimes with relegation there is a hangover. We saw that with Chesterfield, who had a double bounce, and Port Vale just escaped the trap door.”

He added: “But getting this opportunity at Mansfield was something I couldn’t not take with the ambition of the owner and Carolyn. That’s come to fruition now. I have had phenomenal support.

“The training ground is nearly ready and everything we spoke about when I met the chairman and Carolyn has come to fruition and I have never been as excited about this project as from day one.”

Flitcroft said he he still had many friends at Swindon and wished his former players nothing but good.

“I am looking forward to going back down there,” he said. “I want to see players do well, not just in football but in life.

“Of all the players I have worked with I have no bitterness to anyone.

“You just want them to keep progressing. You hope you have challenged them or taught them on the training ground and their values stay strong.”

After the 2-2 draw at Bury, this will be the second game in a row that sees Flitcroft return to a former club and he said: “A lot of other people make factors around it. You can’t let anything affect you.

“I was there last week at Bury and it is business. You can’t focus on background noise – just the lead-up and preparation.

“We are going to a football club I did manage last season. But we are focusing on Mansfield Town and making sure our players know exactly what they are doing from minute one to minute 95.

“We need to make sure we are not just competitive but also competent in our work.”