Otis Khan is delighted to back at home on the left wing, hitting top form and loving life under new Mansfield Town boss John Dempster.
Khan’s displays on the left at Yeovil over two years were what drew attention from other clubs, Stags eventually winning the race to sign him for a reputed large, undisclosed fee.
Former boss David Flitcroft used Khan as a No.10 – and successfully so – for a time until he was injured and then struggled to get back in.
But Khan believes he is now flourishing back in his old position under Dempster and ahead of Saturday’s trip to Forest Green, he said: “That’s what I am all about on the left wing. I am loving playing under the gaffer.
“The gaffer said go and express yourself which I did. It gives me the freedom to play how I want to play.
“The two years I spent at Yeovil were on the left wing, coming off the left onto my right foot.
“When I came to Mansfield in my first year I had to try to adapt to a new position of No.10.
“But I know this role really well on the left. I know I can play well there and I enjoy playing there.
“It’s a nice position to be in to be able to play on the left wing or as a No.10.”
He added: “The gaffer is giving me the freedom to go out and express myself and not think about too much apart from going out and showing what I can do. A lot of credit goes to him for that.
“He said ‘we know what you can do. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes – everybody can make mistakes. Just go out and play how we know you can play, express yourself, and try to impact the game as much as you can for the team’.
“It gives you massive amounts of confidence knowing the manager believes in you and wants you to express yourself. It helps massively – every player will flourish under that. The fact that the gaffer’s doing that for me is amazing.”
After a poor start to the season, Khan said the players had been desperate to repay the new manager for his efforts.
“He (Dempster) is buzzing every day and has banter with the lads, but at the same time is serious in what he’s doing,” he said.
“He’s good to have around the place and gets on with the lads really well. He’s been here all these years so he knows what the club’s about.
“The start of season run of results was not the best, but we knew the gaffer was doing absolutely everything he could for us. We just wanted to repay him on the pitch.
“It’s starting to turn now. We’ve got two back-to-back wins and it’s nice to get them for him. He stuck with us through the tough times when we were not doing so well and now we’re getting the good out of it.”
Khan was one of the shining lights of Saturday’s 6-1 thrashing of nine-men Oldham and he smiled: “It was amazing to play in. Once we started we were confident in the first half.
“To get that result and that amount of goals at home is fantastic for the players, the fans and everyone at the club.
“We controlled the game more or less throughout and, after we scored our fourth, players were pretty much queuing up to score.
“I think it was my best performance of the season so far. I enjoyed it, playing free, and the fact we won 6-1 made it special for me and for the team.”
Despite the upturn in form and results for Mansfield, Khan said they were more down to persistence and belief than anything new.
“Nothing has particularly changed,” he said. “We have kept working hard on the training field and the manager has said that result and performance has been coming. The training and tactics are paying off. Everyone is feeling confident.
“I want to keep being consistent, do well for the team and keep impacting on games. The squad needs to keep being as positive as it can.
“We know there will be up and downs, but if we stay positive I know we can have a good season.”
On Saturday Stags head down to recently deposed League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers and Kahn believes the fact the home side like to play good football will favour the Stags.
“I think it suits us down to the ground,” he said.
“Everyone knows we are a passing team and we have the players to be able to do that. Our game is keeping possession of the ball.
“I enjoy every game if I am in the starting XI but obviously with my nature of playing, I like to play the ball on the floor and keep possession.
“So I do enjoy games like this more than direct opposition, but I am not fussed really as long as I am playing.”