RICHARD Pears has vowed to show the Tiverton Town fans he is still sharp enough to cut it at Southern League Premier Division level.
Pears quit his post as Exeter Civil Service manager last week after being offered the chance to rejoin Tivvy as a player.
The 33-year-old has returned to Ladysmead for his third spell and came on as a second-half substitute as Town fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Evesham on Saturday.
Pears revealed it was his Civil Service joint-boss, Tiverton legend Kevin Smith, who persuaded him he could still do a job for the Yellows.
"Kevin had been telling me I was too young to give up the playing side of things and that I could still do it at a decent level," he said.
"I'm 33 and I feel like if I don't take the chance to play at this level again now, I won't get another opportunity.
"So when (Tiverton chief) Martyn (Rogers) spoke to me about coming back to play, I thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity. I was in the right place at the right time.
"I know Tiverton well and I think it's the only club I'd have gone back to play for."
Pears insists he has been keeping himself fit despite spending the majority of the last three seasons watching from the sidelines as manager of Exmouth Town, Cullompton Rangers and Civil.
And, among an otherwise youthful Tiverton squad, Pears is aiming to become a valuable asset this season and beyond.
"I am signed until the end of this season, but if it goes well there's the possibility I could stay next season as well," he explained.
"It is an excellent young team here and there is a positive attitude to getting something out of this season.
"I have that bit of experience which I think can help the team and I believe I'm still good enough to play at that level and do well for Tiverton."