Sam Jones is on a mission to make up for lost time and Harogate Town look set to be the beneficiaries.
The 27-year-old attacker joined the club at the weekend following his departure from Shrewsbury, bringing to an end an 18-month spell in League One that had seen him starved of action.
And having spent “too long” on the sidelines, Jones says he is determined to prove himself once more, promising Town supporters “goals, flair and bit of excitement” as he bids to help his new employers realise their ambition of promotion to the Football League.
“The move to Shrewsbury didn’t work out for me, but if anything it’s fuelled my hunger for the game,” the former Leeds United trainee said.
“I’ve missed it massively and I needed to get back playing regular football. Not playing is one of the hardest things I’ve experienced on and off the pitch.
“I love the game and to have sat around and waited would have been the worst thing I could have done. As soon as I met with Simon [Weaver] and he spoke to me about his ambition I knew that this was the right move for me.
“I’m raring to go. I am confident that I can hit the ground running and I will always back myself to score goals.
“Wherever I’ve been in the past, whatever the level, I’ve always managed to do that.
“I’m a big, physical lad, but I play with a bit of flair and I like to think that I’ll contribute in terms of creativity and finding the back of the net. Hopefully I’ll bring a bit of excitement too.”
Jones was part of Leeds’ academy set up before giving up the game for a spell and heading over to Australia.
Having made the decision to return to playing, he worked his way up from Northern Counties League football with Retford, progressing up the non-league pyramid before League Two Grimsby bought him from fifth tier Gateshead in January 2017.
Just over a year later he made the step up to League One with Shrewsbury, but feels he was never given the chance to prove himself at that level.
“I started back at a really low level with the aim of getting into the Football League and I worked so hard to get there,” Jones added.
“I worked really hard, but just didn’t get a look-in. It’s not like I’ve failed in League One, I wasn’t even given the chance to fail.
“I’m still ambitious but so are Harrogate Town. If I’m honest, I don’t really think of myself as a National League player, however I don’t believe that Harrogate are a National League club, either.
“When you walk in here for the first time there are so many things that tell you this could easily be a Football League set up.
“You can see the ambition in the signings the gaffer has made. The club made the play-offs last season but we want to do more than that this year.
“We want to try and win the league and I’ll be going all out to try make that happen.”