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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 16:13 GMT
Flitcroft has new ambitions
By Pete Oliver

Hyde United midfielder Dave Flitcroft
I was gutted to miss out on League football but when you start a business you know you will have to pack in between 30 and 40

David Flitcroft

When Bury's player-of-the-year David Flitcroft reported for pre-season training at Gigg Lane it is fair to say that the FA Trophy did not figure large in his thinking.

But after seeing his Shakers career turn sour, the competition is now helping the experienced midfielder deal with the disappointment of dropping out of the Football League.

"It still affects me. Every morning when I get up and I'm not training it's a strange feeling," Flitcroft told BBC Sport.

"After 15-16 years as a professional it's a massive wrench and I'm still coming to terms with it.

"Every morning you would get up at eight o'clock, get your training kit on and go and do your work and it feels strange not doing that.

"It's about setting you body clock differently to go to work and then go to the club later. It's a learning curve."

Flitcroft is learning the ropes with Hyde United after joining the Conference North club following his departure from Bury last month.

Curtailing a 450-game League career which had seen the 32-year-old give fine service to Bury, Rochdale and Chester City was a big step.

But Flitcroft, who also had short spells with Preston and Macclesfield, had no regrets about linking up with the Tigers and taking up manager Steve Waywell's offer of first-team football after falling out of favour with Bury boss Chris Casper.

He said: "It was getting to where I was falling out of love with football, because I was not playing.

"I was playing in the reserves but it was more as a mentor and like a coach to the younger kids and I was forgetting my own game.

"I didn't play competitively for three months and that took its toll. I lost that bit of direction and I missed the competition, whether it be in the FA Trophy or playing for three points against Leigh, Scarborough or whoever.

"The transfer window made it difficult to move and manoeuvre but I have gone to Hyde where I am really enjoying it and I will give them everything. It's about getting the buzz again. I just want to be competing on a Saturday."

Coincidentally, Flitcroft's departure from the League ranks followed just a couple of months after older brother Garry was forced to call time on his own career, played out with Manchester City, Blackburn and Sheffield United, because of injury.

Together they work with their father in property development and Flitcroft junior's move to part-time football at least allows him more time to devote to the family business.

But football remains his passion and Hyde will now benefit from the approach that made Flitcroft one of the lower division's top midfield players.

"I was gutted to miss out on League football but when you start a business you know you will have to pack in between 30 and 40," he added.

"I am coming on 33 and I've moved on to Hyde. I had accepted my future was up at Bury and I just wanted to get back to playing.

The FA Cup is the best cup in the world but at our level the FA Trophy is as big and we are looking forward to it. We want to go as far as we can

David Flitcroft

"I came down to Hyde, saw that the pitch was great and everything about the club is on the up.

"Steve Waywell has got a superb set of boys and a great team spirit. I have really fitted in and I am enjoying it.

"We have a chance of the play-offs and it's a challenge. I thought 'I'll have a bit of that'."

Hyde's Ewen Fields ground is good enough to host Manchester United's reserve-team fixtures and they have aspirations to play at Conference National level.

On Saturday they get the chance to test themselves against opposition of that standard when they face Halifax Town in the first-round proper of the Trophy.

Flitcroft has previously played League football at The Shay and is relishing a return and the chance to get the competitive juices flowing again.

"I have only been at the club for three weeks but I have realised what a massive competition this is for Hyde and the players," he said.

"The FA Cup is the best cup in the world but at our level this is as big and we are looking forward to it. We want to go as far as we can.

"Halifax will be a tough ask. I know their manager Chris Wilder, who has done a superb job.

"But it's a nice pitch and a big stadium and I'm looking forward to locking horns with them. This is what I want to do on a Saturday."

SEE ALSO
Injury forces Flitcroft to retire
10 Jul 06 |  Sheff Utd
Flitcroft agrees new deal
20 May 04 |  Bury
Flitcroft fears for Dale
15 Apr 04 |  Rochdale
Flitcroft joins Macclesfield
09 Jul 03 |  Macclesfield Town


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