JOHNNY HUNT has vowed to give his second chance in the Football League his best shot.
The left-back, released by Chester at the end of last season, has joined League Two side Mansfield Town.
A successful 2013-14 campaign at Wrexham led to Hunt being snapped up by Cambridge United who had just been promoted from the National League after winning the play-off final.
Hunt, who signed a two year deal at Cambridge, found opportunities limited in 2014-15 and he left after just 12 months, but the 26-year-old admits he should have fought for his place at The Abbey Stadium.
“I have a few regrets about that,” said Hunt, who only made nine League Two appearances in his only season at Cambridge and was also loaned back to Wrexham.
“I was younger then and should have stayed to fight for my place.
“But I was used to playing regularly for Wrexham the year before and wanted to play for Cambridge every week.
“It was hard to take not playing and not coming off the bench because I wanted to play football.
“I was coming off my best season for Wrexham when I was scoring goals and I should have stuck it out at Cambridge.
“You live and learn and that will help me going into this one.”
Mansfield finished 12th last season, four points away from the play-offs, but Hunt is expecting the Steve Evans’ Stags to challenge for automatic promotion next term, something he is relishing.
“Mansfield are a massive club and they are going for it which is great,” said Hunt.
“They only just missed out on the play-offs last season, they were unlucky in their last game, but they are having a go next season and want to get automatic promotion.
“It is exciting going into a club that wants to do that. It is a step up for me but I am looking forward to it.
“I want to challenge and fight for a place and be part of a squad that is looking to get promotion.”
Hunt helped Wrexham reach the National League play-offs three years running between 2011-13, the Reds unable to finish the job off.
He will be plying his trade at a higher level next season and Hunt is looking forward to playing his part in a promotion push.
“I know I can play in the National League, I have done that for a long time,” added Hunt. “I don’t miss a game and I want to test myself in the League.
“Mansfield want to go for promotion and that will be an experience, like when I was Wrexham when we were expected to get to the play-offs with lots of experienced players. I am looking forward to playing with experienced players at Mansfield.”
Hunt spent two seasons at Chester and admitted earlier this month he was gutted to be leaving the Deva Stadium having held initial talks over a new deal in January.
The Blues’ alarming slide down the table since the turn of the year, finishing the campaign in 19th position and two points above the drop zone, meant Jon McCarthy’s side came perilously close to relegation to the National League North.
Hunt will now be playing in the Football League in August after being snapped up by Mansfield but admits he probably would have stayed at Chester if he was offered the new contract he expected.
“That how mad football is,” added Hunt. “If Chester had stuck to their word, I probably would have signed.
“Things never worked out and I have now got a chance at a Football League club.
“I am going to give it my best and see what happens.”
See full story in the Chester Leader