NCEL: Knaresborough Town signing Fatlum Ibrahimi puts "terrible" season behind him in search for enjoyment factor

Fatlum Ibrahimi joined Knaresborough Town last week (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)
Fatlum Ibrahimi joined Knaresborough Town last week (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)

Talented midfielder Fatlum Ibrahimi is hoping his move to Knaresborough Town can rekindle his love for the beautiful game after a “terrible” season.

Knaresborough boss Paul Stansfield signed the midfielder last week and started him in the club's home wins over Grimsby Borough on Saturday and Selby Town on Tuesday.

Ibrahimi walked out of Harrogate Railway's relegation battle over the new year after falling out of favour with manager Lee Ashforth.

Knaresborough made contact with Ibrahimi soon after he left Station View and eventually captured their man six weeks later.

The Kosovan midfielder still harbours aspirations to cut it at the top of the semi-professional game despite dropping down two divisions to ply his trade.

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Fatlum played an hour behind the striker in the 2-1 win against Selby Town on Tuesday (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)

Fatlum played an hour behind the striker in the 2-1 win against Selby Town on Tuesday (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)

Ibrahimi said: “I want to get some match fitness back, get that feeling of playing Saturdays and hopefully get the team winning and enjoy it until the end of the season.

“Paul wants me to get enjoying it. He believes in my ability and so do I.

“I want to challenge myself at a higher level so hopefully I can get some performances in between now and the end of the season and see what happens. I want to push myself at this stage.

“If I have good players around me, I feel I can play quite a high standard, definitely. I'm not ruling anything out.”

Fatlum decided to leave Harrogate Railway on New Year's Eve, posting a message on Twitter (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Fatlum decided to leave Harrogate Railway on New Year's Eve, posting a message on Twitter (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Stansfield added: “It’s a massive signing. The boy can play a lot higher.

If it’s just until the end of the season, that’s fine. Obviously we want to keep him, and we’ll try our best to, but he has so much ability.

“We are going to play him in the number ten and he can go and create. I’m sure he will. He was outstanding on Saturday.”

Since rising out of the Railway junior system, Ibrahimi has been an impressive talent and has attracted scouts from several clubs from higher leagues.

And former Railway boss Billy Miller said the player had the ability to play “levels above” when the midfielder was starring in the club's record league finish last season.

However, Ibrahimi's career was put on hold after finding life tough under Ashforth. He returned from home-country Kosovo late during pre-season and took a while to break into the new Railway boss' starting line-up.

He eventually decided to break away from his boyhood club on New Year's Eve and stated he was “gutted things just haven't worked out.”

Ibrahimi told the Harrogate Advertiser: “It's been a very tough season. Terrible really.

“Since Billy left, I thought I would stick at it at Railway under Ash but it didn't work out. I faded away from football. and had to get my foot back into it. I trained with Town for a but and Stanners kept ringing me for a few months. I thought it was the best thing to do until the end of the season.

“I have definitely learnt a lot from this season. But I will put it to the back of my mind.

“Lack of game time, a few disagreements with the management. That's how it works in football.

“I was frozen out of the squad and team a bit. At my age I need to be playing. I love the lads but if I'm not playing, I don't want to be in that situation.”