Mansfield Town’s new striker signing Liam Hearn has pleaded for patience in his quest to hit top form at the One Call Stadium.
The 28-year-old has finally put pen to paper on what is understood to be a one-year deal, having trained with Stags since his release by Conference club Grimsby Town at the end of March.
The Stags struggled for goals last season after the prolific Matt Green left for Championship club Birmingham City, scoring just 49 times in 46 league games.
Hearn - who was reportedly the subject of a £300,000 bid from Peterborough while with the Mariners - believes he can help improve that statistic.
But after spending much of the last two seasons on the treatment table with cruciate knee ligament trouble and a ruptured Achilles injuries, he knows the goals may take time to flow.
“Sometimes as a striker it takes a while hit your straps, like it did at Grimsby when I don’t think I scored for the first 10 games,” he said.
“The fans stuck by me because they knew what I was doing was right, and eventually I started scoring and went on to score quite a few goals.
“Hopefully this year will be roughly the same, even if, because of my two injuries, it might take me a bit of time to find my feet.
“But I’m very confident in my own ability and, with the players we have here such as and Clemo (Chris Clements) feeding the ball through, I think I will get a lot of chances.”
Hearn bagged 33 goals in 61 games during his time at Blundell Park after earning a three-year contract in north-east Lincolnshire with 45 in 76 matches at Alfreton.
The Nottingham-born former England C international previously scored freely for Quorn, Chasetown and the nearest senior club to where he grew up, Hucknall.
He is relishing the prospect of playing in the Football league for the first time and is optimistic he can remain fit and available.
Hearn added: “I have done a lot of work with the physio here in the summer and he is really pleased with my rehabilitation.
“He’s shown me a lot of things to work on in terms on injury prevention and core strength.
“Working with him I have a better understanding of the injury I had and hopefully now an injury-free year will follow, aside from maybe the odd niggle.
“I’m expecting better quality in League Two, but I played against a few League One and League Two clubs in the Conference and I didn’t think the difference was that big.”
Hearn revealed he turned down interest from League One clubs to join the Stags, believing it is the right club for him at this point in his career.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I will play and can make an impression and not be sat on the bench, which would have meant a third year of not really playing,” he said.
“I spoke to representatives of the club in the summer (of 2013), but nothing really came of it. The gaffer has reiterated to a lot of people how much interest he has in me and how much faith he has in me. By having a manager do that, it makes you want to play under him and do well for him.
“It’s only five minutes away from Bulwell and Bestwood where I grew up, the lads have been so welcoming and I’m living in Mansfield with a friend, so all the boxes were ticked.
“Everyone at the club has been full of optimism for me and some have said they wished I had been here last season because maybe I would have put away some of the chances we created.”