Jamie Allen is hoping to make FC Halifax Town home sweet home after moving back up north from Dover.
The 24-year-old forward spent two years on the south coast, but his time there was affected first by a serious injury and then homesickness.
Allen started his career at Fleetwood, training with the first-team and signing his first professional contract aged 16, and making his debut for the club aged 17.
He went on loan to Stalybridge before joining Southport, where he feels he played his best football, scoring 10 goals in 35 league games.
“As a team, we struggled, but on a personal note that was my best season,” he said.
Allen got injured after 12 games with Dover, undergoing surgery after tearing a cartilage in his hip, and was out for the rest of his first season. But he played 41 league games last term.
Dover had taken up the option to extend Allen’s contract, but agreed to it terminated so he could move back up north.
Allen, who was born in Wigan, said: “Being away from home was a massive factor. It wasn’t for me, I gave it a try, but I just wanted to be back home.
“I had another year on my contract and I’d started pre-season, and if nothing happened then I’d had to have stayed.
“The manager wanted to keep me. I did enjoy the football under him, I liked playing for him.
“But when I had time to myself I didn’t really get up to much, and when I had the chance to get back up north, luckily the manager is a decent guy and he understood.”
Allen says there were a couple of other clubs interested in him down south, but that Dover didn’t want to let him go to another southern side.
“It’s a great bunch of lads, I’m enjoying it so far and I’m excited to get going,” he said.
“There’s talented players in that squad, 100 per cent.
“There’s players that have played in this league, and higher, so they know what the league’s about.
“There’s some younger lads that have not really played in this league, but you’ve got to start somewhere to get the experience.
“I think combining the experience with the younger lads, we can give it a right go.”
When asked what his best position is, Allen said: “I can do a job on either flank but personally, I would rather operate down the middle, whether that’s in-behind or up top in a two.
“I feel I work well up top as a two with a big lad, because I can run in-behind from the flick-ons, or play off a big man.
“But I’m versatile so I can play anywhere across the front.”
Allen is joined at The Shay this season by former Dover team-mate Tobi Sho-Silva.
“He’s a handful, you only have to look at him to know that!” Allen said of his fellow front-man.
“He’s strong, he’s quick. If we can keep him fit and get him firing early doors, he’ll be a big player, no doubt about that.
“And he’s a top lad as well. But I think the fans can expect a lot from Tobi.
“He hasn’t played a lot of football, but it’s all about getting a good run together. If you do that, get off to a good early start, you can really kick your season off from there.
“But obviously Tobi was in and out, had a couple of injuries, so it was hard for him to get going. But he’s had a good pre-season behind him now, had a few games, scored in the last game.
“If we can get him going he’ll be a massive player.”
When asked what would constitute a successful season for him, Allen said: “Every forward player wants to score goals so double-figures would be nice.
“But the main thing is I just want to enjoy my football again, and I want the team to do well. That’s the main focus.”