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Versatile midfielder highlights gaffer's influence after signing

30 May 2017

After signing a deal at One Call Stadium earlier today, versatile midfielder Will Atkinson said manager Steve Evans played a key role in persuading him to join the club.

The 28-year-old made the switch from League One side Southend United this afternoon and in doing so became the club's 11th signing since the end of the season.

And the former Hull City midfielder was full of praise for the gaffer as he spoke to after putting pen-to-paper on a contract at One Call Stadium.

"I think I spoke to the manager, Steve Evans, and he really sold it to me," Atkinson said.

"He was determined to get me in, he made me feel really wanted – that was a big part – and obviously I've spoken to people and got advice and they said the club was going places and I want to be a part of that.

"We got promotion there (Southend) and I've got no bad words to say about them but Steve Evans made me feel really wanted and really valued and sometimes a new challenge is what you need.

"I'm very impressed [with the signings] and that was another key factor in what attracted me here. I looked at who else he'd brought in – like Paul Anderson.

"I used to play youth team football with him at Hull, [and Stags have signed] other good players who have all been proven at this level and above, so I'm really excited to meet the boys and get going."

The two-time promotion-winner previously spent a 12-game loan spell with the Stags in 2008 and he is now excited to represent the club once again in a season which he believes the club can challenge at the top of Sky Bet League Two.

"It feels really good to be back. It's been a long time since I was here, a brief loan spell, and it's great to be back. It's exciting times for Mansfield Town and I'm looking forward to it.

"As a player, I've gone on and I've done fairly well. I've got promotions under my belt and I feel like I'm much more experienced now and hopefully I can bring that to the current squad.

"It's a tough division to get out of, don't get me wrong. There's a lot of good teams in here, a lot of teams will fancy their chances, but I'm here for one reason and one reason only and that's because I believe Mansfield will be challenging.

"It's a long old season, so you need a good squad but looking at what the gaffer's put together here, we've definitely got that. With a little bit of luck, I don't see any reason why we can't be up there challenging."

After spending his early years as a winger, Atkinson has been deployed in a more central role in recent times and he says his versatility is one of his main qualities.

"I'd say my favoured position is more central now. I bring that athletic side to it. I think my days playing on the wing have helped me playing inside because I'm good at carrying the ball and full of energy, so hopefully I can do well wherever I'm playing here.

"For me personally, I want to play, I want to win, win games of football and I'm not going to beat around the bush, I want to get promotion."

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