Matt Paterson is determined to do all he can to help Gosport Borough in the process of plotting his own path back to the Football League.
The 24-year-old former Southampton striker was a shock signing for the Privett Park club on the eve of the new season and showed his quality as he grabbed a hat-trick for Borough in their 7-0 FA Cup replay demolition of Larkhall Athletic in midweek.
The Fareham boy, who went to Neville Lovett School, played 22 games for the St Mary’s outfit in the Championship and in League One scoring two goals – although he insists he is a Rangers fan with his family’s Scottish roots.
But it’s been a nomadic journey since then with spells at Southend, Stockport, Hamilton, Forest Green Rovers and Burton Albion.
After a disappointing campaign at Aldershot last season, Paterson admitted he is simply looking to enjoy his football again as he prepares to lead the Borough attack at home to Hemel Hempstead in Conference South tomorrow.
However, he clearly still has ambitions to return to the pro ranks.
Paterson said: ‘I had a difficult season last season with Aldershot so I thought I would take a step back and start enjoying my football again.
‘If you are not in the team, you are not going to enjoy it.
‘I had a couple of clubs interested in the summer but I just wanted to enjoy my football again and I thought coming home would be the best thing for that.
‘I’ve been very lucky and have played in the Championship and have played in every level below that.
‘I don’t want to be a Big Time Charlie, but I know I can play higher.
‘Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two forward. This might be a stepping stone – who knows?
‘But, first and foremost, I just want to enjoy it, score some goals and do my best for this club.
‘My target is to play as many times as I can and score as many goals as I can.
‘I just want to focus on my overall game, help the club by scoring and making goals and winning games.
‘We’ll see what happens after that.’
Borough boss Alex Pike believes his striker, who has seven goals to his name already this season, is destined for bigger things.
But he has no issue with giving him the platform to show his quality.
Pike said: ‘If that lad doesn’t get back into the Football League, something is wrong. I’ve got to be a realist and it’s unlikely he will be here for the long term.
‘I’m just happy that a club like Gosport has managed to attract a player like him.
‘Sometimes it’s about giving those types of players an opportunity.
‘I would love to see him get back in at a professional club.
‘But it’s a measure of how far we have come as a club that we are now seen as a vehicle for players who have dropped out of the Football League to get back in.
‘We can be that springboard for them.’
Pike will be looking for some consistency from his side as they attempt to hit the heights again.
He said: ‘Hemel Hempstead are a young side, they are bright and they are full of running.
‘We do have these ups and downs.
‘We will have a great game and then we let our standards slip so we need to make sure we are at it for every single game.’
n Seven former Gosport Borough stalwarts will be honoured in their new Hall of Fame tonight at Privett Park (7pm).
Peter Edgar, Tony Brickwood, Tony Mahoney, Tony Stares, Gary Juryeff, John Hawes and Mick Slaymaker are the first batch to be inducted. Entry is free.