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Interviews

Byrom relishing competition for places

3 August 2017

Midfielder Joel Byrom believes Stags have the 'perfect competition' within the squad to ensure the players keep standards high.

After 11 players departed One Call Stadium at the end of last season, boss Steve Evans strengthened his group with 13 signings of high quality, with at least two players capable of playing every position.

And with the season opener against Crewe Alexandra under 48 hours away, former Northampton Town midfielder Byrom has lauded the competition for places in the Stags' dressing room.

"There's competition all over the pitch. The manager's got a really tough decision to make at the weekend, he's got to pick players for every position really.

"I don't think anyone's nailed down so it's just got to be what the manager goes off at the weekend and then those lads who aren't in the team have got to be pushing the lads in the team and I think that competition is perfect for a good season.

"If you do get the shirt at the weekend – if you're lucky enough – it's up to you to keep the shirt and I think the manager has always been good with the fact that if you play well you keep your shirt and if you're struggling for form or you pick up and injury and you find yourself out the team, it's not going to be easy to get back in it.

"Obviously there's the lads from last year and then the lads who the manager's brought in and there's a lot of lads who have played a lot of football at higher levels.

"Especially last year, where a lot of the signings he's made played a lot of football at League One level so it's brought the standard up in training and the pre-season's obviously gone well with results and plenty of goals for the boys."

The 30-year-old is now excited for the season to get underway after a tough pre-season but he is under no illusions as to what's in store over the next 10 months.

"It's nice to be thought of as favourites but I've played in League Two for a long time now and you know that it's a hard slog for 10 months and every single point you play for is massive at the end of the season.

"We've got 20-odd players in the squad now and they're all going to play a massive part because League Two is a slog."

Stags are expected to take around 1,000 supporters to Crewe on Saturday and Byrom has praised his experience of the fans since joining the club.

"The fans have always been brilliant, home and away, and they'll be there in force on Saturday and hopefully cheering us on to a win at Crewe.

"It's always a tough place to go, Crewe. Crewe are always technically very good footballers. I know a few of the boys there and they'll be exactly the same as us – pushing themselves for a win and getting off to a good start."

Supporters can view Joel Byrom's full news conference by logging in to iFollow Stags.

 


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