Scott Fenwick says he has no regrets about leaving the comforts of non-league football for the pressures of the wrong end of League Two.
One year ago, to the day, Fenwick signed an 18-month professional contract at Hartlepool United after being plucked from Northern League Dunston.
I try to stay patient, but keep knocking on the door by putting the graft in training and showing what I can do for the reserves or if I get on as a sub.
Pools were bottom of the league and in desperate straits and while signing a non-league player looked a move ‘off the page’, Paul Murray’s decision was vindicated.
Despite a long injury interruption, Fenwick finished as the side’s top scorer in the league, including a crucial goal in the 2-1 win over Exeter which completed the great escape under Ronnie Moore.
The 25-year-old, set to return to the starting XI today in the FA Cup against Cheltenham Town at Victoria Park, has endured more frustration this term too.
Fenwick began the season alongside Billy Paynter and Rakish Bingham in a 4-3-3 formation, but after five starts, lost his place to Rhys Oates.
The Gateshead-born forward has had only two starts since, but despite limited opportunities, is the second top scorer on three goals, four behind Paynter.
“Every day I come in, work hard and chip away,” he told SportMail.
“I try to stay patient, but keep knocking on the door by putting the graft in training and showing what I can do for the reserves or if I get on as a sub.”
His performance as a sub at Wimbledon last week should earn him a start at Victoria Park against the Robins this afternoon.
If selected, he will relish the chance of putting Pools through in the cup and trying to cement his place in the side.
During his non-league days, Fenwick had the best of both worlds - a steady job as a civil engineer and some fun on Saturdays and Tuesday nights banging in goals for Durham City then Dunston.
Does he not miss the net bulging?
“I was used to scoring every week,” he said.
“But, overall, my numbers here are probably not too dissimilar to my non league record.
“Obviously the chances come a lot less than they did in the old days.
“So it’s up to me to put them away when they come along.”
Fenwick loves the professional life and there is no hankering back to 12 months ago and beyond.
“Cold, wet, Novembers and Decembers spent in a cold cabin somewhere up the A1?” he smiled.
“Or spending a couple of hours a day playing football? It’s a no brainer.”