MATT Preston rejected a three-year deal offered to him by Swindon Town boss Phil Brown in favour of joining Mansfield.

Preston, 23, appeared 21 times for Swindon Town under David Flitcroft but was denied the chance to play for Brown after picking up a knee injury while – ironically – playing against Mansfield in early February.

The Birmingham-born defender did enough to impress Flitcroft’s replacement, though, as Brown offered Preston a three-year contract – which was based on success at the club - to remain at the County Ground.

But Preston rejected Brown’s offer and instead decided re-join David Flitcroft at his new club.

And Brown admitted he must move on from what he described as a disappointing situation.

“The contract was based on success, and – in my opinion – I think he’s missed a trick,” said Brown.

“But he’s decided to go to Mansfield and we’ve got to prove to him that he’s backed the wrong horse.

“There will be centre halves out there with more ambition, determination and drive than Matt.

“If we can get that we’ll be moving in the right direction.

“But at the moment it’s a disappointing. You’ve got to move down the line of targets.

“With Matt (Preston) being in-house he was our first point of call.”

In more positive news, Brown is hopeful of Matt Taylor making a return to the field next season – though admits a lack of time available for the influential winger is delaying a potential deal going through.

Taylor is currently in Toulon attending an Under 21s tournament as part of his UEFA Pro-licence responsibility.

Upon returning, Taylor is due a holiday – and Brown hopes to secure his signature when he becomes free.

He said: “I had a conversation with Matt (Taylor), it’s an ongoing scenario.

“He’s getting caught between him doing his pro-licence which is making it difficult to tie him down.

“He’s got family commitments, his licence and holidays – he’s got to have a break himself because he had a massive season last year.

“Getting Matt to put pen-to-paper is something I’m very hopeful of but until it’s done I can’t say anything.”