WINGER Jason Stokes said he had to prove a point to manager Jason Lee before he could earn his place in the Boston United starting line-up.
The 21-year-old (pictured) earned a contract after impressing in pre-season trials.
But his start to life at York Street was stifled after he put pen to paper, having to wait to get international clearance.
Stokes spent part of last season with Belgian fourth division outfit Racing Montegnee.
This meant he was allowed to turn out for the club as a trialist, but after signing a contract he spent many of the warm-up matches watching from the sidelines until he was given the OK to play in England once again.
And after missing much of pre-season, Stokes had to win his manager over again when the Blue Square Bet North season kicked off again.
“I thought I had to prove a point, it’s the highest level I’ve played in this country,” Stokes admitted.
The wide man had to wait until the Pilgrims’ fifth competitive match of the season – the 1-0 defeat at Bishop’s Stortford – before making his first start.
He was then benched for the next two matches.
But after that he started the next four matches in a row, before Saturday’s FA Cup clash at Tadcaster, coming on as a first-half substitute.
However, after establishing him in the team, Stokes now has another goal.
“I need to improve my match fitness,” he added.
“It’d be nice if I can get my first 90 minutes under my belt.
“We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Perhaps Stokes’ first full match for Boston could come during Saturday’s BSBN encounter at FC Halifax.
The Shaymen - who drew 1-1 at Chester in the FA Cup on Saturday and replayed last night – currently sit in fifth in the table.
Neil Aspin’s side have lost just once in their past seven league matches, incidentally a defeat at Chester.
Of those other six matches, five were victories – against Workington, Oxford City, Hinckley, Gloucester and Histon – and they also drew against derby rivals Bradford Park Avenue.
Last season, United drew 0-0 at home to Town before losing 3-2 at The Shay.