Zander Diamond says he is targeting another Sky Bet League Two title winning campaign after leaving the Cobblers to sign for Mansfield Town.
The reigning supporters’ player of the year at Sixfields has moved quickly to find a new club after quitting Town, and has decided to drop down a division and team up with fellow Scotsman Steve Evans.
The move will come as a surprise to many after Diamond had enjoyed such an excellent season at league one level, but the player says the ambition of Mansfield and their manager persuaded him the Stags was the club to sign for.
Asked about why he had decided to leave the Cobblers, Diamond said: “I just felt I had done three-and-a-half years at Northampton, and it was time to move on.
“You look at ambitious clubs up and down the country, then you speak to the manager up here and he outlined his ambition in what he wants to do and as soon as I heard that, it ticked all the right boxes for myself.
“I tasted success with Northampton in this division and hopefully I can do the same again with Mansfield.
“Why not feel optimistic? The chairman, I read, is backing the manager so why not feel optimistic that this season can be successful?
“I spoke to the manager at great length, and two or three others about the direction the football club wanted to go and what he wanted.
“Once I went away and I thought about that, I said I’d like to come and work under him (Evans). Lucky enough, the deal was done quite quickly from both parties and I’m delighted to be on board.”
As well as teaming up with his former Cobblers team-mates Joel Byrom and Alfie Potter, who both joined the Stags in the Janaury transfer window, Diamond will also meet up with fellow Scot and former Burton Albion team-mate Alex MacDonald.
“I did speak to Alex and I spoke to Joel, and they outlined the infrastructure within the football club, what the demands are as a player and what the manager’s like,” Diamond told mansfieldtown.net
“Everything all marries together as one and it was a perfect fit for me to come to this football club.
“Looking at them in the league last season, they were unfortunate not to sneak into the play-offs but your general feel about the place, it’s one of optimism.”
On explaining the decision to allow Diamond to leave the club last week, Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh spoke of the player ‘needing a new challenge’, and the player had been linked with a move back to his native Scotland.
Certainly not many would have envisaged that challenge cropping up with Diamond signing for Mansfield, but the Scotsman is excited about the future.
“This is an exciting chapter for me, and is the fresh challenge that I wanted and needed at this time of my career,” said Diamond. “I am buoyant with the move, and I am looking forward to everything.
“People say about pre-season and they might not look forward to that, well I can’t wait to get started, to see my new team-mates and see some old faces that I’ve not seen in a few years.
“I am looking forward to it immensely.”