JAMES O’Neill originally arrived at Latham Park in 2013 as a young striker – but he returns seven years on a strong centre half gunning for a chance in Europe.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed spells with a number of club’s in the English non-league system, but has now been persuaded to jump back across the border.
O’Neill admits he is a different player to the one signed under the previous Robins management regime and he has almost returned on a number of occasions in the past.
Jimmy explained: ‘I’m really pleased to be back, it’s easy to see the progression the club has made in the last six years so it was an easy decision for me.
‘I’ve kept in contact with Chris ever since I left, and it’s nearly happened on multiple occasions over the last two or three seasons. As soon as we spoke this time I knew straight away I wanted to come back and I’m glad we got it sorted so early.
‘When I first came in 2013 I was 18 and had only had half a season of men’s football with Telford United.
‘At the time I was a striker but ended up filling in at full back or out wide quite a lot. I’ve now had three or four consecutive seasons at centre half and I’m a lot more physically developed than when I was last here.’
Since leaving Mid Wales, O’Neill has become a commanding figure at the heart of defence for a string of non-league sides, including Chasetown and Kidsgrove Athletic.
One reason for his return to Powys is the way the league has progressed, and the carrot of Europe.
He added: ‘I’ve enjoyed it in non-league and it’s definitely been a learning curve, I’ve played with some really good players at Chasetown, Kidsgrove Athletic and Rushall Olympic in particular and played under some really helpful coaches and managers.
‘The league has really progressed since I left and so has the club, for me I think it matches step two or three of non league in England.
‘Also the club has come on leaps and bounds, especially with them consistently achieving top 6, and obviously Europe a few years ago.’