Stags boss Flitcroft trying to raid former club for centre half Preston

Swindon's Matt Preston shadows Cambridge's Uche Ikpeazu. Picture by Dave Evans.Swindon's Matt Preston shadows Cambridge's Uche Ikpeazu. Picture by Dave Evans.
Swindon's Matt Preston shadows Cambridge's Uche Ikpeazu. Picture by Dave Evans.
Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft may be about to raid his old club for centre half Matty Preston.

But he faces significant competition from the Robins, who want to keep the 23-year-old and have offered him an impressive three-year deal to stay.

Swindon manager Phil Brown said: “Matty is a key player.

“The three-year deal I have offered him is not just to compete with Mansfield, who are clearly in the market for him. It’s because of his level of importance.

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“We need a rock. We need a backbone right down the middle of the pitch and Matty Preston would start that strong spine off.”

Birmingham-born Preston was signed by the then Swindon boss Flitcroft last September on a deal until the end of the season.

He was signed outside the window on a free transfer after Swindon were hit by a lot of injuries at the back and he went on to become Swindon’s best defender.

Flitcroft spoke highly of him every time he got the chance.

However, he hasn’t played since February after suffering a knee injury and Swindon really missed his presence at the back end of the season.

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Brown reported him to be back in training over the final few weeks of the season but he was never fit enough to play.

Now out of contract and originating from the Midlands, a move further back north may suit Preston and Flitcroft is reported to be making attempts to lure him to the One Call Stadium as one of seven potential deals currently on the table for Stags.

Preston was captain of the Walsall youth team when he signed an 18-month professional contract with them in January 2013.

A year later he briefly joined up with Icelandic side ÍBV, then spent two months on loan at Northern Premier League side Barwell.

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He made his debut for the Saddlers in February 2015 and played 41 games for them before being released in summer 2017.

Preston then joined Swindon in September 2017 and impressed until he suffered a serious knee injury – ironically in the 1-0 home win over Mansfield – that ruled him out for the rest of the season.