Jake Imrie felt time was right to leave Harleston Town and join higher-league Dereham Town
Jake Imrie has revealed that the opportunity to leave Harleston Town and test himself at Step 4 was too big to reject.
It was confirmed over the weekend that the left-back had taken the decision to link up with Isthmian League North Division outfit Dereham Town – a move that sees him reunited with former Harleston manager Adam Gusterson.
Having first signed for Harleston aged 15, Imrie has admitted that it was ‘very tough’ to leave his hometown club.
However, at the age of 28 and having recently returned to action following a serious knee injury, he felt that he owed it to himself to play as high as possible.
“It was very tough to move on from Harleston. Apart from a couple of spells with Norwich United and Wroxham I have played most of my football for them and been a part of their rise,” said Imrie.
“I let Adam (Mullin, chairman) and Nicky (Howell, joint manager) know when the offer came in and they were great about it.
“They were keen to keep me but also made it clear they would not stand in my way of testing myself.
“I ruptured my ACL at the start of 2017 and once I had the operation in March I missed around a season’s worth of football.
“Even at non-league level you do not get to play football for too long and I did not want to look back in a few years and regret the fact that I did not test myself at the highest level possible.”
The switch means that Imrie will be playing two levels above the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North where he plied his trade with Harleston last term.
It will represent a number of fresh challenges, but he is confident of adapting to life at Aldiss Park.
“I have got to back myself and believe in my ability. If I don’t then it is going to be a struggle,” he added.
“One of the key things will be to get myself as fit as a I possibly can. I watched a few of Dereham’s matches last season after Gussy moved across there and the one big difference I noticed was the pace of the game.
“Obviously it is technically better as well, but it was a lot quicker so I need to get my fitness levels up. If I can do that then hopefully I will settle in pretty quickly.”
Meanwhile, Imrie is confident that the club is leaving behind can bounce back from their enforced relegation to the Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Premier Division.
Nicky Howell and Nathan Stone have recently taken over as joint managers and Imrie feels they are the right choice to lead the club straight back up to Step 6.
“It is a great decision to bring those two in,” he said. “No disrespect to Leon (Moore, former head coach) because he did a good job coming in after Gussy left in January.
“He steadied things when it could have got tough and we only just missed out on the title and won the cup.
“But he does not know the Anglian Combination too well and Nicky and Gangles (Stone) do. They won the league as players with us a couple of years ago and they know a lot of the players in the league.
“I am sure under those two the club will be challenging to get back to where it deserves to be.”
More by this authorLiam Apicella