SCOTT McGowan feels relieved to have been given another chance at 1874 Northwich and is determined to allay any fears doubters have about his return.
The striker is back at the club where he holds the record for goals scored following the end of a four-month stay at Macclesfield.
However, before stepping back on to the field, he understands the importance of acknowledging a mistake he made while off it.
“I do worry what people think,” he said.
“And the way I left [in September] means I must prove myself again.
“I am to blame for the tension that caused; it’s entirely on me, although of course that wasn’t my intention.
“I went about it the wrong way, and I didn’t communicate with the people that I should have. Instead, I bottled things up.
“The worst thing about that is I ended up letting down precisely those I didn’t want to, and it’s my job to put that right. I will too.”
The 34-year-old said his appreciation for 1874 has only heightened during his time away.
He remained friends with his former teammates, and checked first for their result on a Saturday evening.
After close to 200 appearances in green and black, during which he found the net on 137 occasions, that should be no surprise.
McGowan said: “I’ve kept in touch with pretty much all the lads.
“The management team has checked in on me too while I’ve had personal problems that are unrelated to football, and that meant a lot during a difficult moment.
“It’s natural to reflect, and you do appreciate the loyalty of the supporters and the affection that they feel towards a club they own and run.
“That’s an environment which has brought the best out in me as a player.”
When it became clear that an opportunity to play regularly for Macclesfield had probably passed, he was left with a decision to make.
At that point, turning out again for 1874 seemed a long shot.
He said: “I floated the idea, but I wasn’t sure what the response would be if I’m honest.
“Of course, if there was a possibility, I wanted to explore it.
“When I left, I thought I could score goals for Macc and it hasn’t worked out. To realise my potential, I need to play regularly.
“I’m not used to coming off the bench, and haven’t learned how to be an impact player in that way.
“I’m comfortable with the decision to try my hand there, but they feel that they have other lads who can do better. There are no hard feelings, and I accept that’s a choice managers make.”
After training with 1874 tonight, Thursday, McGowan’s attention will turn quickly to his next challenge – securing a spot in his new side.
A cameo as a substitute last weekend was his first runout in the North West Counties League since November 13.
He added: “I’ve continued to train, but I am short of game time.
“For that reason, I want to get back out on the pitch again as soon as possible.
“Everybody will form an opinion about whether this is the right move, but I’m convinced it is.
“There’s work to do, and I don’t want to waste any more time if it stops me from getting back to what I do best.”