Town loanee Dion Charles wouldn’t be the first player to play for Halifax and Fleetwood before reaching the Premier League.
The Fleetwood winger, who joined The Shaymen on loan last week, is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Jamie Vardy by reaching the pinnacle of English football.
However, his route may be more circuitous than he originally intended. After scoring 18 goals for Fylde last season, Fleetwood swooped for the midfielder, who had been linked to some Championship clubs.
But Charles has struggled to establish himself at the League One side, playing just once for Fleetwood this season, but he has no regrets over the move.
“I still think I made the right choice because everyone wants to better themselves as a player. you want to see if you can make it and my aspiration is to play in the Premier League one day, so when an opportunity like Fleetwood comes up, you’ve got to be pretty stupid to turn it down,” Charles said.
“Anyone that plays football wants to get to the top and that’s what I want to do, do I can look back and say ‘I’ve worked hard and I’ve played at every level’. Hopefully one day.
“When you look at someone like Jamie Vardy, who played here and at Fleetwood - he’s someone that all the players in non-league can look up to. He was playing the lower leagues but he got a chance and he took it, and look at him now, he’s an England international, he plays every week in the Premier League. You’ve got to look at people like that as an inspiration.”
Charles started off in the youth team at Blackpool, but moved to Fylde after he was not offered a professional contract.
He played for two years at Fylde and got a move to Fleetwood on the back of scoring 18 goals last season in the National League North, before Fylde were beaten in the play-off final by Billy Heath’s North Ferriby
“He’s been good to me since I came in,” Charles said of the Town boss. “He gave me a phone call saying how much he wanted me. It’s good to be here. I’m looking forward to it. This is a very good club and it’s got a lot of history.”
On his superb season at Fylde that earned him his move to Fleetwood, Charles said: “We had a good set of lads there last year. Everyone chipped in, I got quite a few assists. I enjoyed my football and when you do that, and you’re playing regularly, you get chances and you tend to stick them away.
“I didn’t play much in my first season there, only after Christmas really. I came on and scored against Chorley, then pretty much from then until the end of the season I was in the team. Then last year I played nearly every game.
“I worked hard over the pre-season and said to the manager ‘I think I deserve my chance’ and when I got my chance I took it. And I’ve not looked back since.”
Charles’ sole appearance for Fleetwood came in their 4-2 defeat at Carlisle in the Football League Trophy in November, when he was brought on after nine minutes but substituted later in the game.
“I’ve trained with the first-team quite a lot but I’ve not been able to impress the manager enough,” he added. “But there’s not much I can do other than go out on loan, hopefully score a few goals and show them what I can do. Playing in development football is very technical but in men’s football you get kicked.
“It’s been a frustrating season for me this year, I’ve had a few injuries and not played as much as I wanted to, so it’s good to get out on loan and get some game-time.
“It’s a lot better playing men’s football rather than development squad football.
“I injured a tendon in my groin and then I injured my knee, which required an operation. I was out for four weeks with my groin injury, made my debut in November then injured my knee later that week.
“I’ve just got to take it on the chin, go elsewhere, try and prove myself and show them what I can do.”