Ross Barrows is eyeing his first start for FC Halifax Town next season after signing a one-year deal at The Shay this summer.
The defender made his debut for Halifax last season in the 3-2 FA Trophy defeat at home to Matlock in November.
That was before impressing during a month-long loan at Frickley where he scored four goals in seven appearances.
Barrows feels he benefited from that loan spell but is pragmatic about his chances of regular first-team football with Town and accepts he may have to head out on loan again to further his development.
“It was a good experience last year being in and around the first-team,” he said. “You have to show you’re good enough in training.
“I didn’t play as much as I would have liked but I just tried to work as hard as I could and show the manager what I could do.
“Going out on loan was vital and I did well at Frickley. That showed I was capable of playing at that level.
“They were in a relegation battle but it was a really good experience and I learned a lot from it but I could do with a bit more experience like that.
“I know it’s going to be difficult to get into the first-team. Kevin Roberts is a top player, I’ve learned a lot from watching him play last year and in training.
“And Cliff Moyo is also a top player. They’ve both got a lot of experience at this level.
“I’ve talked to the manager a couple of times last season and he likes my attitude and the fact I work hard.
“He says I just need more experience and to play Saturday-Tuesday and get used to the physical demands of first-team football.”
Barrows was born in Sheffield and signed for Scunthorpe aged 10 but was released when he was 15.
“My dad broke the news to me that I was going to be released, and I thought I’d take it upon myself to leave rather than waiting around,” Barrows recalled.
“It broke me down a bit. It hurt me a lot and after that I just wanted to play with my mates.
“My mum and dad talked to me and said it wasn’t the be all and end all and that football was a game of opinions, one person might not think I’m good enough but another person might.
“When I went back into Sunday League I played in the year above to try and better myself.
“I also worked with one of my old coaches at Scunthorpe in some one-on-one technical sessions and they developed me a lot as a player.
“I played Sunday League football locally and played in the development squad at Man City.
“I played with players there who were more than good enough to play for under 18 teams in the Football League.
“I went for a few trials and then my dad brought home a leaflet advertising the open trial at Halifax, and I thought “why not?”.
“I went online and did some research about the club.
It was the best decision I’ve ever made. This will be the fourth year I’ve been at Halifax and I’ve seen the youth programme develop a lot over that time.”
Barrows admitted he was hoping to build on his debut as a 36th minute substitute against Matlock last season, which to date is his sole senior appearance.
“The manager spoke to me before the game and said if anyone gets injured, I will be playing and to make sure I was ready,” Barrows added.
“As a defender you don’t really expect to be coming on for an injured player.
I’d been on the bench a few times and not got on.
“I remember it being a cold night and when I got the call to come on I was a bit nervous but I gave it the best I could.
“I don’t think I gave it my absolute best but it was a good experience and I’m glad it was at The Shay.
“Since then I’ve been hungry for more because that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to sit around in the stands, but I’ve got to be patient, keep working hard and take my chance when it comes.
“My aim this season is to have a good pre-season and hope I get my first start.
“Hopefully I can do that and make it hard for the manager to leave me out but I’m happy to go out on loan and get games in the Conference North.”