Matty Hughes has confirmed his interest in a permanent move to Chester FC – but admits the lure of the Football League will be hard to turn down.
Hughes had two loan spells at the Deva Stadium this season, scoring five goals in 26 appearances before returning to parent club Fleetwood Town.
His contract with the League One side expires this summer and on Thursday he was announced as one of 14 players who were not being retained.
Blues boss Steve Burr has already told The Chronicle he is keen on bringing the 23-year-old back to the club and Hughes does not rule that out, stating his fondness for the Blues.
The Wigan-based forward, who was moved to Fleetwood from non-league Skelmersdale United, will not be short of suitors and has an understandable desire to remain in the professional ranks if possible.
Several North West clubs in League Two and relegated Tranmere Rovers, whose new manager Gary Brabin tried to take him to Southport last season, could be interested.
Hughes admitted he had a lot to think about but said the main driver behind his next move will be guaranteed first-team football given his opportunities were limited with the Cod Army.
Hughes said: “I definitely enjoyed my time on loan at Chester and what’s not to like about the club?
“I’m open to all thoughts at the moment and I’m sure I’ll give Steve Burr a call soon and we’ll talk about things.
“But I’m not going to rush into anything so I’m going to take a bit of time off and enjoy the summer with the family and then make a decision.
“I think there’s an element of wanting to be a professional and wanting to be in the Football League.
“That’s not to say the set-up at Chester isn’t professional because it is and the club has got everything going for it but if the right opportunity comes up to stay in the Football League then I think that’s where you want to be as a player.
“It’s a bit of a dilemma and there’s a lot of things to take into consideration.
“When I moved to Fleetwood from Skem, I went straight into the first-team squad, played quite a few games and we got into the play-offs and went into League One.
“I wasn’t that involved this season and going out on loan to Chester gave me regular football and that’s the main thing now for me now.
“I spoke to Graham Alexander [Fleetwood manager] and he said that he thought I needed to playing week in, week out at the age I am now and that wasn’t going to happen there. I sort of expected it with the direction the club is heading in.
“I want to be playing games as often as I can now, whatever level that is at.”