Haverhill Rovers’ latest addition Jack Wilkinson has declared himself as ‘fit, fresh, hungry, confident and ready to go’.
Wilkinson, 21, returned to the New Croft last Tuesday (January 22) after being released by Needham Market and is now rearing to get playing again.
“I’m fit, I’m confident, I’m fresh, I’m hungry and I’m ready to go,” he said.
“I’ve been ticking over whilst the weather has been bad and I’m rearing to go now, no questions about it.
“I’ve not got anything to prove as I’ve come back to a club I enjoyed playing at and a club going in the right direction.
“I’m in the same form, if not better, than I was last season – I’ve not had too many 90 minute games recently but don’t doubt that I can kick off from where I left.”
Wilkinson, from Hadleigh, enjoyed a hugely successful season on loan at the New Croft last season, scoring 15 goals in all competitions (nine league).
He returned to Needham and featured in the Ryman Division One North outfit’s play-off semi-final success against Tilbury and then the final heartache against Enfield, scoring once during the end of Needham’s campaign.
He started this season as a first XI player, although mainly at left back, racking up 17 starts and 12 substitute appearances, scoring twice.
However, recent cost cutting saw him among five players axed from the squad with the team currently languishing 13th in the league.
That exit paved the way for a return the New Croft, despite more lucrative offers than Rovers’ fellow Thurlow Nunn Premier Division rivals.
“I know the players and the management here and had a lot of success here last year.
“When I went back to Needham I was sharp and just want to keep playing now.
“I’ve had a couple of indoor aerobic sessions as Saturday’s (January 26) game (at FC Clacton) was off but I want to have some games now.”
Despite the managerial reigns passing from Peter Betts to Ali Shulver during Wilkinson’s absence, much of the staff and squad remain unchanged at the New Croft.
He will likely play in his favoured position of left midfield for Rovers, reforming the strong partnership he had with left back Greg Strong and hoping to provide plenty of goal scoring opportunities for the league’s in-form striker Dan Cornwell as well as chipping in with a few goals himself.
“It’s still the same in terms of the ethic, what they want to do and the direction they want to go in.
“I know they want to get the ball down and play, like Betts did, and that’s certainly how I want to play.
“It will be good to combine with Dan, who’s one of the best strikers in the league as he’s strong, technically good, very brave and scores goals, and that will help he to move in and provide opportunities.
“There are also players like the Abbott brothers who have a lot of experience, and I got on well with Greg the last time I was here and hope to do it again with the overlaps and covering for each other.
“I’d like to get ten goals this season, but if I do that I’ll be aiming for 12 and then 15.”
In terms of how the team will fare this campaign, Wilkinson sets a top six finish as the target.
As for his future, he added: “I’ve signed until the end of the season and will review what I’m doing then. With the club aiming for promotion that’s appealing for me as I want to be playing at as high a level as I can.”
Rovers resume their campaign when they travel to 15th placed Felixstowe and Walton United on Saturday (February 2, 3pm kick off) following a three week hiatus caused by the weather, with Jamie Challis and Sam Holmes still absent. For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, January 31) Echo.