Stefan puts two years of Payne behind him at Sutton

Growing Payne-s: Sutton striker Stefan Payne has grown up since he was last at Sutton in 2009

Growing Payne-s: Sutton striker Stefan Payne has grown up since he was last at Sutton in 2009

First published in Sport Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Striker Stefan Payne is not concerned about earning a return to the professional ranks, he just wants to fire Sutton United to Blue Square South promotion.

The 20-year-old forward returned to the club where he made his name last month after unsuccessful spells at Fulham, Gillingham and Aldershot Town.

Payne has barely kicked a ball in competitive action since signing for the Cottagers in 2009 and subsequently leaving for the Gills in 2010.

But he has insisted personal gain can wait while he bids to score the goals that could take United into the Blue Square Premier only 12 months after Paul Doswell's men lifted the Ryman Premier League crown.

"I'm just glad to be play games and scoring goals again," he said after scoring his first goal for the club since his comeback against Bromley.

"The last few years have been frustrating. I have learnt a lot, but have not played as much football as I would have liked. I've barely played a game in a year.

"I don't think I got a proper chance at establishing myself in the pro game, but I wouldn't change the experience I had. I've still got time on my side.

"I still believe I will get back up there, but I'm not really bothered about that at the moment. I just want to play games and win games.

"Anything can happen in the play-offs. We've already had a good season and hopefully we can make it a great one."

Doswell, who sold Payne to Premier League Fulham for £50,000, has said Payne can achieve what he wants to in the game.

And former Croydon FC youngster admitted returning to familiar surroundings at Gander Green Lane had ended a miserable spell in his career.

"It was a great experience at Fulham, but I was only getting a reserve game once a month or so," he added.

"You are obviously training and trying to impress but you know you have not go much of a chance to get into the first team.

"When I was at Gillingham and Aldershot it was completely different. You are training to get into the first team, but I was still not getting a chance really.

"I spent a lot of time getting a few minutes here and there off the bench. I need to be starting.

"Things haven't really changed that much since I was here last at Sutton "There are a few more experienced players around, but the majority are faces I already knew.

"I'm confident we have got a good enough team to do well in the ply-offs."

Sutton, who still need three points to be assured of a top five finish, lost 1-0 at home to Dartford on Saturday - a result that confirmed the visitors as Blue Square South runners-up to champions Woking.

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