STEVE Cawley says Concord Rangers have rekindled his love for the game as he aims to fire them to another top-half finish this term.
The 24-year-old caught the eye towards the end of last season, scoring important goals against Eastleigh, Havant & Waterlooville and Tonbridge Angels in the Beachboys’ successful campaign.
However, Cawley said he thought his chance to impress at Conference level had gone after he found himself in and out of the side at Conference South side Bishop’s Stortford.
He joined Concord after the start of last season and the attacking midfielder is sure he will be able to make a telling contribution this season.
“Last season was very successful for me. It came at the right time as I was really looking at my last chance to play at this level. When I was being overlooked at Stortford my confidence was at its lowest it has been in the game.
“Now I am back playing and I love my football again. I owe that to Danny (Cowley) and Concord.
“This is the closest group of players I have been a part of and that makes this team very special.
“We may not be able to compete with other teams financially but we really look out for each other on the pitch and that counts for something.”
Cawley says he hopes to hit 15 goals for Concord this season, although he may often play just behind the striker, and he reserved praise for one Concord forward.
“Towards the end of the season I was showing what I could do again and I feel I do well just off the main striker. I like to set myself targets and I feel I can score 15 and help my teammates score even more.
“Stokesy (Tony Stokes) has been great. I have learned a lot from him as he holds up the ball so well and brings in the rest of the team. Linking the team together is a big part of my game and he has helped me massively.
“We did so well last year and to emulate that and maybe have a decent run in the FA Cup would be good.”
Cawley says the team’s fitness has improved significantly in the last two pre-season games and he couldn’t wait for this weekend’s kick-off against Bath City.
“We want to start now. We are ready and, although Bath and Ebbsfleet are possibly two of our toughest games, will give it our best shot.”
Manager Danny Cowley said the young striker had every quality to be a huge success in the Conference South this season.
“He is a really exciting young player,” he said. “Technically he is very impressive and he has a goalscorer’s touch, which is what we are looking for.”