Stags’ skipper Lee Collins says he's enjoying his football after being deployed in a central midfield role by manager Adam Murray this season.
Collins joined the club prior to the 2015/16 season from Northampton Town and quickly established himself as an important part of the Stags’ team and was given the captaincy following the departure of Nicky Hunt to Leyton Orient in January.
After spending much of last season as part of the back four, manager Adam Murray made no secret of his desire to move the skipper into midfield and the former Barnsley man has subsequently spent the majority of the current campaign in a defensive midfield position.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do all my career but I’ve never really had the chance to do it and I feel I’m doing well in there," Collins said.
"I’m enjoying it, I’m getting more of the ball and you do actually enjoy your football a bit more in there because you’re more involved.
“You’re not constantly thinking ‘I’ve got to defend in a minute; I’m defending, I’m defending, I’m defending’, you’re involved in the attacking play a lot more.”
After picking up an impressive 11 points from their opening seven games, Collins says the Stags have had a ‘very good start’, but still believes there’s more to come from his team-mates, especially at One Call Stadium.
“It’s also been a bit frustrating because we could be right near the top at the moment with the games we’ve lost and the games we haven’t really capitalised on because no team’s really ‘beat us up’ as such.
“We’ve held our own really well and I think there’s more to come. I think we’re a very good footballing side and we just need to express it a little bit more.
“You should rely on your home performances quite a lot but we’ve got this strange habit of having an incredible away record and not so good home."
After seeing manager Adam Murray bring in 10 new players during the summer, the 27-year-old former Port Vale man says the additions have settled in quickly and comfortably.
“Without being disrespectful to anybody, because everyone was a good player last year, I just think we’ve improved the quality a bit.
"I think we’ve recruited well, the new lads have slotted in very quickly. It normally takes a few months for the new lads to settle in but straight away, from Brooksby (Stags’ pre-season training camp), they settled in really well and they’re all good characters.
“There’s a lot of senior pros here who the young lads bounce off, who they look [up] to. There’s a lot of guidance and there’s a lot of men; there’s a lot of men in our changing room which is refreshing because we will inevitably hit a rocky patch in the season and that’s when the men need to stand up and be counted and there’s a lot of men in this changing room to do it.”
Supporters can view Lee Collins’ midweek news conference on Stags PlayerHD.