Mansfield: ‘Why I quit Whitehawk’

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ALAN Mansfield has revealed that a lack of competition for the goalkeeper’s jersey at Whitehawk was a key reason behind his switch back to Horsham.

The stopper quit the Ryman South promotion chasers a week ago to rejoin John Maggs’ team and also revealed that he turned down the chance to come back to Horsham last season - something he called a “mistake”.

The 27 year old, who last played for the club between 2006 and 2008, has started Horsham’s last two matches and will compete with Mark Zawadski for the Number 1 jersey.

He said: “I always liked it at Horsham, I had a good time here before and had the chance to comeback last year but decided not to which was probably a mistake because I wasn’t really enjoying my football really at Whitehawk.

“I had a few problems, nothing to do with the managers who were great and not football related but just personal reasons and for training Horsham is closer for me living in Crawley.”

And in response to Maggs’ comments that both his keepers would be fighting for their place he continued: “Competition is always healthy, it keeps both me and Mark on our toes and we know that if we make a mistake or have a bad game the other one is one our tale and pushing for that jersey. We have to do enough to keep it in every game.

“That was one of the problems at Whitehawk. I didn’t have a number two pushing me and if you’re the only goalkeeper you can’t help but think it doesn’t matter how you play you’ll still be in the team the next week.

“Now (at Horsham) we have got each other for competition so we both have to up our game and I thrived on it last time I was here when I had Gareth (Williams) and Paul (Seuke) for competition.”

Mansfield remains popular with the Hornets supporters and he enjoyed a dream return debut with a man of the match display in the 2-0 win at AFC Hornchurch.

“It was a great first game to come back for in retrospect,” he said. “We defended for about 80, 85 minutes of the game and it was a good defensive performance from the team.

“It was just one of those days when everything they hit seemed to come straight at me. I made an early save which is always a confidence booster for a goalkeeper and from there I just had one of those games where I thought nothing is going to beat me.

“It’s the first time I’ve enjoyed a game in a long time.”

Mansfield’s heroics saw him keep the shirt for Tuesday night’s league match with Croydon Athletic, a game which had to be abandoned after 64 minutes due to fog with Horsham trailing 2-0.

And he is expected to keep the jersey again for this Saturday’s tough trip to Harrow Borough.