Bondswell fired up for Forest
Written by Luke Vinton
Ahead of Newcastle United Under-23s' Premier League 2 trip to Nottingham Forest on Monday, Matt Bondswell admitted he will be putting previous loyalties aside when facing his former club.
The young Magpies travel to the Impact Arena, home of National League North outfit Alfreton Town, to face their Reds counterparts (kick-off 7pm GMT), aiming to end a run of five consecutive matches without a win.
Bondswell, who spent eight years at Forest's youth set-up before departing for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig in 2018, is relishing the challenge of taking on his hometown club.
"I'm really looking forward to it," the 19-year-old defender told nufc.co.uk. "I'm hoping it will be a good game but it will be nice to see some familiar faces that I've known for quite a while.
"The club helped me loads, not just as a player but a person too. During the time I was at the club, they were massive on the traits you use as a player and person which have still stuck with me. They certainly helped me develop as a footballer and a man as well.
"At the end of the day, it's still another football game where both teams are going to be after three points. That's going to be the job so when I'm out on the pitch, that's all I will be thinking about, trying to help my team to get the win but it will be an interesting day for me."
With Elliott Dickman's side situated on 14 points, four adrift of the play-off spots, Bondswell believes Newcastle's second-string must seize the initiative in order to maintain their promotion hopes this term.
"Given the context, it's a really important game," the teenage full-back added. "A good result would really help us towards getting what we want to achieve this season. Even though there are a lot of football games to go, we also know we can't let these opportunities pass us by. We're really hoping to get a result on Monday.
"It's definitely tight in the table. I think there's only five or six points separating about seven or eight teams so results are even more important than what they may have been at the start of the season and only shows the importance of this game.
"It would be very welcoming for us to win. With Elliott (Dickman) coming in, we've had some good training sessions and the results just haven't been there yet but we're confident that we can get that first win under him on Monday.
"I think I speak for all of us when he helps everyone individually in terms of what he demands from us. He has high demands which helps us perform as a team. He wants us to work hard with and without the ball which has shown in the sessions."