Ashley Jackson admits he was ‘bricking it’ when he first arrived at the Jakemans Stadium. But now the defender is relishing his place in the Boston United squad.
The 24-year-old leapt at the chance to make the move from Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One side Ossett Town when Craig Elliott called him ‘out the blue’.
But as he found himself reporting for duty alongside teammates such as Nathan Arnold and Jonny Margetts, who were playing four and five levels higher in the Football League last season, he didn’t quite know what to expect.
“I was pretty nervous at first. I was absolutely bricking it on the side,” he told The Standard. “But I’m looking to improve myself and, being in and around people from the Football League, it’s nice to learn from them.
“There are experienced heads in the club and that’s great for me.”
But despite those initial fears, the left back knew he had been given a chance that he wasn’t going to let go.
“I’m loving it here,” he said. “Where I came from, it’s obviously a massive step up in terms of professionalism and playing standard and what the managers want.
“That’s no disrespect to where I was before, but it’s just this level.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be here and I have to give it my best shot.”
Jackson has previous experience with Goole and Leek Town - where he was an unused substitute as the Blues knocked the Pilgrims out of the FA Cup in 2014 - but after signing a contract with Ossett he only became a free agent this summer.
And that’s where Elliott stepped in.
“I’m a Sheffield lad and he’s been watching me at Ossett,” Jackson said.
“I’ve been under contract there so there’s not much you can do but sit and wait.
“He rang me up this summer and I couldn’t quite believe it, but I wanted to come and do my best.
“It was out the blue. I expected to move but I didn’t know where.”