TOM Hickey aims to use his rejection by Brentford to spur him on to better things with Hampton & Richmond Borough this season.
The young midfielder went for a trial with the League One side this summer but returned to Beveree after failing to land a deal at Griffin Park.
But rather than wallow in self pity, Hickey insists he will put the advice Brentford's coaches gave him to good use and help reignite Hampton's stalling season.
He said: “I was at Brentford for a week and a half but didn't get in. At my age, it would have to have been a pro contract rather than their development squad, but they said I wasn't ready for first team football in League One.
“I know I can play at that level though. It was a great experience, and I learned a lot. They were very helpful and gave me things to work on to improve myself – and that's what I want to do.
“My aim is still to be a professional footballer, it's just about getting that break. I know playing well for Hampton could get me noticed again, so hopefully I can improve myself and help the team improve too.”
Not even Hickey could prevent a miserable bank holiday weekend for Hampton though. A home game against fellow Ryman Premier strugglers Cray Wanderers was washed out without a ball being kicked on Saturday, before the Beavers went down 1-0 at Kingstonian on Monday.
All of which means Hampton are bottom of the table going into tomorrow's game at mid-table East Thurrock United. Then comes home games against Maidstone and Met Police before a special day at Beveree on September 14, for the visit of either Ashford Town (Middx) or Bishop's Cleeve in the FA Cup first qualifying round.
The day will be used to pay tribute to long serving and popular former Beavers keeper Matt Lovett, who recently announced his retirement due to a series of nasty injuries. The former Staines Town custodian was one of Alan Devonshire's first signings and made almost 300 appearances in eight years for the Beavers.
Before the game, Lovett will be leading the teams out before a presentation on the pitch to recognise his massive contribution to the club's rise to the Conference South in 2007, and the time they spent at this high level.
Lovett said: “I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the fans of Hampton for their support over my at the club. I would like to have finished my career on a better note, and there are some things that could have worked out better, but I can take away great memories from my time here. I wish the club all the best, and thanks for all the loyal support throughout the good and the bad.”