Nick Wilderspin has spoken of why he turned down the chance to play two leagues higher to stay at Halstead Town.
The commanding centre-back rejected the advances of a higher-league club at the end of last week, instead deciding to commit to the Humbugs and their promotion bid this season.
And with Halstead now the only unbeaten side left in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division, Wilderspin is determined to help preserve their unblemished record when they travel to second place Stowmarket Town on Saturday (3pm).
“I know it’s a cliché but I’m just really enjoying my football at Halstead to be honest,” the 28-year-old said.
“The players and the staff are looking to go up and push for promotion this season and I wanted to stay here and help get the job done.
“Stowmarket on Saturday is a massive game. If we can come out of that one, away from home, still unbeaten we’ll be happy.
“We want to keep our unbeaten record. It’s still early on in the season but we are looking to finish in the top three.”
Halstead have made a bright start to their 10th consecutive season in the First Division, winning seven and drawing four of their 11 league fixtures so far.
Last season the Humbugs finished five points adrift of third place Great Yarmouth Town, while in 2008/09 it was only goal difference which denied them a return to the Thurlow Nunn League’s top flight.
Although currently seventh in the table heading into this weekend, Halstead do have several games in hand on all the teams above them, owing much to their run to the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup earlier this season.
“It’s a really good atmosphere in the dressing room,” Wilderspin said. “We had a good run in the FA Cup, won a game in the FA Vase, and we’re still in the Essex Senior Cup as well.
“It feels like we’ve got a successful team here as the team are winning most weeks. The team spirit was a massive part of me wanting to stay here.”
Before joining Halstead in March, Wilderspin had played for higher league sides Soham Town Rangers and Haverhill Rovers, and cited travelling commitments was also behind his reason to stay at the Milbank Stadium.
Humbugs manager Mark Benterman described the defender as a ‘special talent’ as he prepares to take his side to Stowmarket this weekend.
“Nick is a special talent and is not money-driven,” said the Halstead boss, whose side host Heybridge Swifts in the Essex Senior Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).
“I’m really pleased to have him here and it shows the direction which the club is going in. Being the only unbeaten team left in the league is a nice accolade but it is immaterial to us. We’ve got a tough game on Saturday playing against Stow and we will need to approach it the right way if we want to get anything out of it.”