Defender Manny Smith is eager to make a big impression when he faces his former club on Saturday afternoon.
Not because he has a point to prove at Walsall but because it is his chance to make one of the central defensive berths his own.
Following his arrival from the Banks’s Stadium last summer, Smith started life at Meadow Lane in the in the Magpies’ first 11 but suffered an unfortunate knee injury early into the Capital One Cup clash with Bradford City that saw him ruled out for the majority of the campaign.
As a result, the 24-year old made only five league appearances last term but he is determined to put that nightmare season behind him by proving to first team manager Chris Kiwomya that he is worthy of a regular inclusion at the heart of defence.
Smith, who is set to return following a one-game ban following his two cautions against Fleetwood Town, told Magpie Player: “With the sending off, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to play against Peterborough, because it’s always good to play against the big teams.
“I’ve got another chance now going into the Walsall game so hopefully I’ll go there and do well.
“I’ve been out for a long time and nobody here likes sitting on the bench watching the games, it’s frustrating when you want to be out there playing.
“I just want to play games and cement my place now and I want to prove that I can be at centre-half.
“I’m feeling good but it’s not good to be in and out of the team, you want a good, steady run of games so I’ve got to keep training hard and when I get a chance in the games, just keep doing it.
“I played about four or five games last season here and there and it’s not really ideal, I just want to be playing week in, week out.
“I can’t expect to play week in, week out without performing so it’s down to my own performances.”
For the full interview with Smith, sign in to Magpie Player.
Full ticket and travel details for the Walsall game can be found by clicking here.