Tony Nwachukwu says he will thrive on the pressure after returning to Worthing Football Club last week.
The attacking player, who can play up front or on the wing, signed for Worthing ahead of the 2015/16 campaign but did not play a game all season owing to a Gilmore’s Groin injury.
After having an operation, he re-joined Horsham last year and scored nine goals in 25 games as the Hornets finished 16th in the Ryman League South Division.
The 26-year-old had verbally agreed to stay with Horsham next season – and the club ran an article confirming he was staying on their website – but Nwachukwu felt he could not turn down the chance to return to Woodside Road when Worthing got in touch.
He said: “It was a hard decision for me to leave Horsham as it’s my hometown club but at the end of the day, Worthing are in a higher league and I need to push myself, so I think this is the right move for me.
“My plan was to stay (at Horsham) because I’m not one of these guys to go chasing other clubs. I’m happy to be where I am if I’m wanted and I felt wanted there. I knew Worthing were a little bit interested but it didn’t seem like anything was going to happen, so I had to tie myself down to something.
“Horsham were there and have always been there for me. I agreed verbally that it looked like I was going to stay but every player wants to play at the highest level.
“Worthing came back and said they wanted to sign me again. They’re in the Ryman Prem and and you see some of the players at this level – like Jamie O’Hara – and I want to test myself against those boys.
“It was a hard decision but I’m happy, 100 per cent.
“I want to be here, I want to play at the highest level and Worthing have given me the opportunity.
“I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t got a little bit in the back of my head thinking ‘there’s a lot more pressure here now’ but I’m going to thrive on that. I’m a big character and I’ve proved it year after year in the Ryman that I can do it. I’ve scored goals so I feel this is just another chapter in the book.”
Nwachukwu said there were dark days after missing the whole of the season last time he was at Woodside Road but he is determined to do well for the Worthing fans.
He said: “There were dark days but I think that’s made me stronger now, it’s given me that extra grit between my teeth to push myself and try to prove people wrong or just to prove to myself that I can still do it.
“Not knowing 100 per cent what the injury was at the time was the worst part of it all. After a year of not playing, I went to have private surgery on it which cost me about £7,000 and after two months I was back with Horsham.
“I didn’t even play one game here last time, so I feel like I’ve got unfinished business and like I owe the fans something.
“They’re good fans here and I hope they back me and the more they show me the love, the more goals I’m going to try to score for them.”
On his aims for the season, Nwachukwu said: “Gary (Elphick; manager) wants to push on and be in the mix to be promoted. Every player wants to get promoted and for me that’s the plan – try to be in and around it.
“There’s a lot of competition but the team has always been good and the way they play football is really attractive.
“The pitch is good, so that should help us pass the ball around but at the end of the day we just have to put the work in at training, during games and we’ll hopefully get there.”
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