SAM Reed is aiming to get back to his best after finally signing a new deal at Bury Town.
The 24-year-old striker ended weeks of uncertainty about his future by agreeing a further 12-month stay at Ram Meadow.
Having rejected the chance to move up the pyramid to unnamed Blue Square Bet North clubs, Reed spoke of the Blues’ burning desire to win promotion from the Ryman League Premier Division as one of the deciding factors behind his decision to stay.
He said: “I had the chance to go higher and had contracts offered from teams in higher divisions, but the ambition of (manager) Richard Wilkins, (chairman) Russell Ward and everyone at the club, as well as all the supporters’ messages, made me realise how much I wanted to stay for at least one more year.”
Although remaining tight-lipped about the clubs he was on trial at, Reed did reveal he was not offered a deal after training at a Blue Square Bet Premier outfit and turned down contracts from sides at Blue Square Bet North level, as well as his former club, Southern League outfit Cambridge City.
“I’ve had a lot of offers for increased money, but money has never been an issue for me and Bury knew that,” said Reed, whose brother Lee also plays for Bury. “It’s just been about ambition and after the chats I’ve had with them it’s clear they still have that.”
After returning refreshed against Braintree Town in pre-season last week, Reed is also hoping for a better season on a personal level after netting just 13 times in 50 appearances for the Blues during a 2011/12 campaign hampered by a hamstring injury before Christmas and a knee problem after.
“I didn’t train from Christmas onwards because if I did it would put me out of the games — that’s how long I was taking to recover,” he said. “I’m fit and ready to go again with no injuries.”
Last campaign was also one that ended in disappointment for all at Ram Meadow with defeats in the Ryman Premier play-off semi-finals, 3-1 to AFC Hornchurch, and Suffolk Premier Cup final, 4-2 to Lowestoft Town.
“Some people say we didn’t achieve what we were hoping to last season, but it can sometimes be easier in the first season than the second,” said Reed.
“Now we’ve made the play-offs two years running we know we can do it again, and that’s the very least we are aiming for.
“Winning the league is a big ask, but we’ve been knocked out in the semi-finals of the play-offs the last two years and we would like to go one step further and get promoted, which my aim as well as everyone else’s.”
Reed is also hoping a more advanced role alongside strike partner John Sands will see him shine on a personal level once again.
“I was trapped back in a different role where I had more defensive responsibilities playing in behind Sandsy,” he said. “But this season we are going to try and do it as a partnership with out-and-out strikers.”