Less than a year ago, bustling striker Matt Rhead was combining part-time football at Corby Town, with long 12 hour shifts working as a Team Leader at JCB.
Aged 27, Rhead was a prolific goal scorer in the Blue Square Bet North division, though his dream of becoming a full-time professional footballer still seemed all too distant.
But manager Paul Cox swooped to sign the target man on a part-time deal earlier this year, before later offering him the chance to become a full-time footballer.
Rhead explained that the decision to turn full-time was initially a difficult one to make.
He admitted: “Obviously with having a family and a good job at the time, it was a massive decision to make.”
“Normally I used to do 12-hour shifts and now it’s a couple of hours playing football each day. I have no regrets and it has proved to be a brilliant decision.”
Despite missing the opening day defeat to Newport County, Rhead has featured in every game for us since and has forged an excellent partnership with strike-partner Matt Green.
Matt Rhead, and first Louis Briscoe, were speaking at this morning's press meeting to Mansfield 103.2's Jason Harrison
The target man believes that partnership with Green will improve over the coming months.
He continued: “My partnership with Matt Green has taken time to blossom and we’ve had to get to know how each other play a bit, but obviously the more we play together the better we will get.”
“It gives you an advantage being with the players every day, because I know more about what they are thinking and what they’re going to do next in games.
“It’s a nice change to be in the first team and now we’re getting the results too, so long may it continue.”
Rhead, who has netted twice already this term, played an instrumental role in helping to create our first goal against Tamworth at One Call Stadium on Tuesday night.
However, the striker believes it was the atmosphere inside the ground that helped to drive the team forward.
“The atmosphere was unbelievable and the extra noise from the supporters really helped to give us extra confidence out on the pitch,” said Rhead.
Meanwhile, winger Louis Briscoe has also praised our strike partnership of Rhead and Green.
Briscoe, our joint longest-serving player, said: “I think the pair of them work really well together and they’ve got a very good partnership going with each other.”
“The more games that ‘Rheady’ plays, the better he’ll get, the fitter he’ll get, and he’ll start bringing other players into the game even more and that can only be good for Mansfield Town.”