Fleetwood Town new boy Peter Clarke admitted he feels like a child on Christmas Eve ahead of today’s opening game of the season.
The 37-year-old could make his debut for the club, having been handed a contract on Thursday after training with Town during the summer.
It comes 20 years after he was awarded his first professional contract with Everton, going on to feature for Blackpool, Huddersfield Town, Southend United, Bury and, latterly, Oldham Athletic.
He said: “The anticipation really is like a kid on Christmas Eve.
“I’m a couple short of 750 (games) so to get to 800 before the end of the season would be fantastic.
“Then we will perhaps re-evaluate from there and see how many more I can make in the future.
“I love being out there on a Saturday and a Tuesday.
“As a kid all I wanted to do was to go out there and play football and I feel very privileged that I have been able to do it for as long as I have done.
“I suppose with time you realise how much you enjoy it, and in an ideal world, it would carry on forever.
“I’m not that daft but I want to enjoy my football and play as often as is possible.
“I’m thoroughly delighted to be here and cannot wait to get started.
“I’m looking forward to it. My ambition is the same as it is at the start of every season.
“Get a good pre-season, that is the main thing.
“Then, from there, to be in the best shape you possibly can be, following that be available and play as many games as possible.
“There have been things talked about and where we would like to be.
“We are not going to get too carried away with ourselves.
“We know there is a tough campaign in store.
“We have a confidence about ourselves that we can have a really good season.”
Clarke was released by Oldham at the end of last season, a decision which he admitted surprised and disappointed him after three years with the Latics.
However, he is relishing a new challenge at Highbury.
He said: “I’d enjoyed my time there, I had captained the team through the course of my time at the club.
“I’d won a couple of player of the year awards.
“To be released, I was a little surprised but as you move on through a football career and move on and gain experience and get a bit older, the things that happen in football surprise you a little less as each year passes.
“At the time I was disappointed.
“But you have got to adapt and be ready to move on.”