Jermaine Grandison is clearly back to his commanding best for in-form Shrewsbury Town and he could not be happier.
Flashing his familiar beaming smile, the big defender was in good spirits when we spoke for a post-match BBC Radio Shropshire interview following the latest victory chalked up by Town during a blistering run which has lifted them up to second place in League Two.
Grandison, 23, will have more testing days than the challenge posed by 10-man Mansfield as Town eased to a comfortable 2-0 verdict, a sixth successive League Two win.
But he oozed quality in everything he did, also claiming an assist when he headed down a corner from Bobby Grant, scorer of Town’s brilliant opening goal, into the path of James Collins, the striker doing the rest with a confident finish on the turn to double Shrewsbury’s advantage.
Grandison has, of course, had well documented injury problems in recent seasons which have held him back. It’s also worth remembering that he was an unused substitute for the opening five matches of the current campaign.
But then Micky Mellon introduced him to the side for the 1-0 Capital One Cup victory at Premier League Leicester City at the end of August and it’s been an upward curve for Grandison, such a powerful presence for Town, ever since.
There was the brief setback of a red card at Dagenham earlier this month but, having been suspended for last weekend’s FA Cup first round trip to Walsall, Grandison was immediately reinstated alongside Connor Goldson and Nat Knight-Percival to the back three for the victory over Mansfield.
Having been part of the Town squad relegated from League One last season, Grandison, who has long been a popular figure with the Meadow faithful, insists being involved in a Shrewsbury side now flying high is extra special as he continues to get fitter and stronger all the time.
“I missed quite a lot of last season with my injury,” he said. “I never really got fit last season, but this season I’m playing loads of games and I’m feeling fit so it’s just good to be back in there really.”
Grandison credits Mellon, his manager, for the role he has played in making him become such a consistent performer at the back this season.
“From the start, the gaffer’s always had a word with me, and he’s told me what I need to do, what I need to work on,” he said.
“I think I’ve got to thank him really for how I’m doing at the moment because I did come off it a bit, but now I’m back on it, I’m playing well, and I think he’s got faith in me to do it out there really.
“Every time I go on the pitch now I’ve just got to do my best and keep up my standards.”
It was not so long ago that Grandison’s rampaging runs up and down the wing as an attacking right back caught the eye.
But, having always maintained that playing as a central defender was his best and preferred position, little wonder he’s so pleased to be playing there on a regular basis.
“It’s nice now to be playing there regularly,” he stressed. “I think I’m learning the position now even better.
“It was difficult going right back to centre back, I wasn’t really learning the position as much, but I think now playing there every week it’s good. I’m learning the position, I’m getting better, so I just want to keep improving.”