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HJELDE: WHY I DECIDED TO STAY AT STAGS
4/August/2006 18:34:02

WHY I DECIDED TO STAY AT STAGS
Evening Post, 04 August 2006
Jon-olav Hjelde revealed that the prospect of success at Mansfield this season triggered his retirement U-turn.

The experienced central defender - 34 later this month - was set to quit professional football and return to his native Norway.

But now the former Forest player is relishing the prospect of tomorrow's opening League Two game at Shrewsbury after signing a new one-year deal at Field Mill

"I like it in Nottingham and I think we can do something this season, otherwise I wouldn't have signed," he said.

"I think we could do with a couple more new faces to bring more competition for places, but things are already looking good."

He admits it was a tough decision to commit to another year in England - his tenth since first coming to the City Ground from Rosenborg in the 1997-98 season. But he feels confident he has made the right one.

Hjelde said: "I wasn't sure what to do before the last couple of days. I spoke to Peter before I went home to Norway and again while I was there and he told me to think about it. I had decided to retire at the end of last season, but he asked me to give it another year and said that you are a long time retired and that I might regret it.

"My wife was also very supportive. She knows that I haven't got that much time left in the game."

Hjelde is hoping his season with the Stags will see him cap a successful career with promotion.

"I think we should be aiming for at least the play-offs and why not the top three?" he said.

Manager Shirtliff said: "We've done well pre-season, the players have worked hard and our preparation has been good. But you are never sure how you will do until it kicks off."

Injured pair Jake Buxton (foot) and Jason White (knee operation) are in tomorrow's squad and Shirtliff said: "Jake's problem is ongoing but manageable and Jason is fine again but won't start in goal as he has not played in any pre-season games."




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