Having put pen to paper to sign an 18-month contract at Vale Park on Thursday, Luke Hannant revealed that it was always his dream to play in the Football League and he is grateful for the chance to do just that.
Now 24 years of age, the midfielder makes the move to Burslem from Gateshead of the National League, the team where Neil Aspin signed him back in 2016.
With Dior Angus having already joined the club from Non-League during the window, the manager has demonstrated that he is willing to give players a chance to step up, and that’s something Hannant is relishing.
He said: “It has been my dream all of my life to play in the Football League and I’ve had to wait a while, going down the long route, but it has finally come and I’m delighted to be here.
“It has been a bit of a rollercoaster during the last week, but I’ve been out there training with the lads and they’re a good group - I’ve settled in well.
“Now I’m here, I just want to take the opportunity with both hands and hopefully I can repay the favour because the gaffer has put a lot of faith in me. I want to do him justice.”
In his spell at Gateshead under Aspin, the Valiants’ latest recruit featured regularly and he impressed supporters during last season with some high quality performances.
Now plying his trade in Sky Bet League Two, Hannant wants to ensure that he catches the eye of the manager once more so that he can make an impact in a Vale shirt.
“Playing under him at Gateshead, I was doing really well and I had a good start to the season.
“He knows how I work and I know how he operates, so hopefully we can implement that here at Port Vale.
“The fans can expect me to give 100 per cent work rate, to be up and down the pitch. I’ve got a bit of speed, and hopefully I can pick up a few goals and create some as well.”
On Aspin’s impact on his development, he added: “Neil gave me confidence really as he offered me my first professional contract.
“He told me just to go and express myself and if you play with confidence you’re always going to do well, so I just went out their to do my thing and it has paid off.
Despite his Valiants career being in the very early stages, Hannant has already noticed some key differences having made the step up from the fifth tier.
He said: “I went to look at the ground as soon as I got here and it’s massive. I know there’s a big fan base as well.
“Everything around the ground is a bit more professional like getting your kit washed, I’m not used to that - I was ready to take it home and wash it myself!
“It’s one of the things that come with the opportunity when you get into the Football League, but it all came as a bit of a surprise to me so I’m just settling my feet at the moment.
“You always hear about Jamie Vardy as an example of making the step up, but this is a great opportunity for me and it’s time to kick on now.
“I’m sure there will be a few nerves when I make my debut, but I’ll be proud to put the shirt on and it will be a great achievement for me.
“Hopefully I can do well, repay the gaffer and impress the fans.”