Charlie Bowen is hopeful that Newmarket Town will eventually be able to succeed where Godmanchester Rovers failed.
The centre-back was part of the Rovers squad that narrowly missed out on promotion in each of the last two Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division seasons, finishing runners-up to Norwich United on both occasions.
The departure of manager Matt Clements earlier this summer sparked a player exodus from the Cambridgeshire club, one of which was Bowen, who opted to join an evolving Newmarket.
The Jockeys have made a string of additions during the off-season to accompany the well publicised pitch and ground improvements at their Cricket Field Road base.
And, although it remains early days, Bowen believes that everything is in place for Newmarket to relieve his Goddy disappointment.
“The last two years at Godmanchester in a footballing sense have been the best that I was involved in,” said the defender.
“We had our chance of going up, but it hasn’t happened. I left on a good note and I have a lot of respect for the club, but it was time for a change.
“Newmarket are building towards being a top side. It may take a season or so because the new players need to gel.
“It is a gamble to come here, but it is worth it. I wanted to challenge myself.
“Based on the players we have got in and the players that were here last year, providing we can click, we have to be aiming for at least the top four or five next season.
“I have come here to try to push them up. Things did not go our way at Godmanchester, so hopefully here it will be a case of third time lucky and we might get somewhere.”
Bowen was speaking after Newmarket had played their first official encounter on the recently-installed 3G playing surface at the Ridgeons Stadium in front of 726 fans.
Cambridge United were the visitors and the Sky Bet League Two side eventually ran out 4-0 winners thanks to a brace from Joe Pigott, with further goals coming courtesy of Matthew Foy and Conor Newton.
“It was our first real game against much higher opposition,” added Bowen.
“You could tell that they were much fitter, but for us it was just about getting some minutes under our belts.
“We are still getting to know each other and as a squad it is one of the first times we have been together.”
n Newmarket were due to start their campaign with a home game against Bowen’s former club Godmanchester on August 2, but that has been cancelled.
Instead, Kevin Grainger’s men will get under way at Halstead Town in the FA Cup on August 6.