Published: 06:00, 19 November 2020
Alfie Pavey claimed Dartford was the only club he would have dropped down a level to sign for.
The 25-year-old striker is back at Princes Park on a two-month loan deal after failing to force his way into the side at National League Barnet.
There was interest from other teams in the division above but returning to Dartford appears to be a sensible choice.
Pavey scored 22 league goals for the Darts in 2017/18 and is hoping to recapture his best form again.
“I’m just happy that I’ve got the opportunity to play football again,” said Pavey.
“It’s the right club, it’s a team that’s always going to be pushing for promotion but I feel this season is going to be a massive one.
“If I was going to take that step back down into this league, there was only one club I was coming to and that was Dartford.
“It’s all about me growing again and getting my confidence back.
“I’m not sharp at the moment, I’m lacking game fitness but in time that will come and I believe in myself and I believe I can get firing again.”
Pavey joined Barnet from Dover in September 2019 but within a month he suffered a broken leg in the FA Cup against Potters Bar.
He battled back only for the season to be cut short by Covid-19, a failed play-off bid followed and a change in management saw Pavey struggle for regular game time at the start of this campaign.
“Mentally I’ve been okay,” he said. “When the injury first happened, it wasn’t ideal because I’d only started four games for Barnet.
“I’ve got my head down, cracked on with things and remained professional. I’ve given no-one any excuses and that’s the main thing.
“I feel the ankle is fine, all it comes down to is me playing games now.
“If I can’t get that at my current club then I’ve got to look elsewhere. But I’ve got to earn that opportunity to play and I feel I’ll take it.
“It’s nice to be back here. I haven’t played in about a year due to my injury last October. I’ve been struggling for game time so for the last month or so I’ve been trying to get out on loan.
“It’s been quite a tough period for me. I had a few options in the National League but I felt in the current circumstances for me this was the right place to come back to, the club has been very welcoming again.”
So, with the benefit of hindsight, does Pavey still think he made the right choice to join Havant two years ago?
“Yes, I always wanted to take that next step,” he replied. “If I’m honest, it was the first club that made an approach and it’s one of them – how long do you wait until something else comes up?
“I did have an option to go back to the Football League but it wasn’t right so I chose to go to Havant.
“Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t. It’s part and parcel of football.
“Going back to full-time was always my main goal. Going to Havant was part-time but Dover was full-time and my fitness and stuff got better so I feel like I’m more experienced than I was.
“I was a young kid when I first came in and I was guided by Tony Burman which I’m grateful for.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a better player but I would say I’m more experienced and have a few more games under my belt.”
Pavey’s first battle will be to get into manager Steve King’s starting line-up.
But, having seen the Darts first hand in pre-season and on Tuesday when he came off the bench in the home defeat to St Albans, he believes they will create plenty of chances for him.
“I need to give the manager something to think about,” he added.
“I feel I’m a different option to the other forwards but it comes down to my match fitness and stuff like that.
“I was a bit slow (when I came on against St Albans) and it’s about me growing again and getting back to how I was. I’m just excited about the next two months.
“We came here in pre-season and I know it’s a bit false but everyone then was pass, pass, pass.
“They’ve had a great start to the season but it’s a club that’s always going to be fighting (at the top of the table) and it’s a team that wants to play.
“They create so many chances, so I’m not going to be shy of chances. It’s down to me to get into the team.
“For now, it’s about me getting back to myself, enjoying my football and helping this club push on because it deserves to be in the league above.”