When James Alabi sat down with Ipswich Town in January to discuss his future, he decided it was time to go and make a name for himself.
He was ready to leave the relative safe haven of under-21s football behind and went looking for a fresh challenge having agreed to terminate his contract with the Portman Road club.
Chester FC tried to sign the striker after he left Stoke City in the summer but the lure of the Championship was to prove too strong.
However, he remained on Steve Burr’s radar and when Alabi became a free agent the Blues moved in, offering him a short-term deal that suited both parties .
Chester were in desperate need of someone to ease the goalscoring burden on Ross Hannah, Alabi would have the chance to start games and prove he could cut it in senior football.
If his strike in last month’s draw with Kidderminster Harriers hinted at his potential, Alabi’s four goals against Aldershot Town midweek reinforced the belief that he is someone capable of playing at a much higher level.
The 21-year-old remains far from the finished article and his greatest hurdle could be finding the mental focus to perform close to that level week in, week out.
But if he can, then his size and strength combined with the eye for goal he showed on Tuesday night would make him a fearsome opponent.
Alabi himself recognises that he still has a lot to work on but now for the first time in his career he is being given the chance to do so on the pitch and in Burr, a prolific goalscorer in his playing days, he has a manager who knows what damage the London-born forward can cause if he applies himself on a consistent basis.
Alabi’s career to date has been nomadic, moving from the capital to the Potteries as a teenager, switching to Celtic in Scotland for a season before returning and being loaned to Scunthorpe, twice, Mansfield, Forest Green and Accrington, moving to Suffolk last summer and spending time on loan with Grimsby earlier this season.
But now he feels settled and happy, and that could be a good thing both for him and for Chester.
“The manager’s helping me a lot and I feel happy getting on the pitch, getting games and getting confidence and getting minutes because this is what’s going to help me improve as a player,” said a beaming Alabi after his four-goal haul midweek.
“If you look at my statistics from the previous clubs I’ve been at, I’ve always been a substitute and just tried to come on and change the game but here I’m settled, playing games and having the freedom to play.
“I wouldn’t have got my goals without the rest of the team and it’s been great for the month or two that I’ve been with the club.
“The players have been very welcoming and I’m enjoying playing with them.”