Matt Ruby is determined to emulate the fantastic memories from his first spell at Hayes & Yeading – when he helped the fledgling side into the Conference National.
The newly merged club had only been in existence for two years when centre back Ruby joined four games into the 2008-09 season, which ended with promotion via the Conference South play-offs.
A year later he was released , but following spells with Hampton & Richmond Borough, who H&Y beat in that play-off final, and Maidenhead, where they are ground-sharing this season, he this week rejoined the club.
Ruby said: “It feels good to return as I feel I have unfinished business here. I have some great memories from my first spell and I want to make some more. I want do the same again, and I've always looked out for the cub's results since leaving.
“It was the best team I have ever played in, and if we do half as well as them this season, we will have done well. None of those players are left now, but Tony O'Driscoll (director of football) is still there.”
Last season saw H&Y finish in the Conference South relegation places before being reprieved by Hereford United's demise.
Although Ruby expects another scrap, he hopes the experience he adds will mean they are battling at the right end of the table this time.
He said: “I know what's expected. The Conference South gets harder every year, and it will always be a scrap in this league. You have to make sure you fight in every game, even the cold wet Tuesday nights in the middle of nowhere.
“I will be another voice in the changing room, because at this level you can never have too many voices. I plan to keep the players motivated, as we need to be mentally stronger to turn some of those draws into wins.”
Ruby made a goal-scoring return in H&Y's 2-2 draw at Camberley last Thursday, but sat out of Saturday's 3-1 defeat to North Greenford United. The club have also signed former Wolves youth midfielder David Ijaha from Tonbridge Angels.
Elsewhere, Uxbridge beat Hendon 2-0 on Saturday, with goals from Danny Julienne and Matty Woods, while Javonne Molloy scored the only goal of the game as Northwood won 1-0 at London Colney, and AFC Hayes beat Bedfont Sports 4-0 thanks to a Reece Grant double and further strikes from Dan Bourne and Chevy Hart.