Defender Eddie Nolan grateful to be given a second chance at Scunthorpe United
AFTER the last few months he's had, few would begrudge Scunthorpe United full-back Eddie Nolan the odd indulgence.
Just as on the pitch however, the defender clearly isn't one to shirk a challenge.
There will be no celebrating any Iron victories or first-team appearances with a well-earned treat as Nolan has pledged to give up junk food for Lent.
Given the difficulties he has faced recently, the latest test must seem a breeze in comparison.
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After being released by United last summer, the defender found himself the victim of football's 'recession'.
Although he had several offers, none appealed and he was left without a club at the start of this season, training with Doncaster Rovers to maintain his fitness.
Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws then offered him the chance to return to Glanford Park and Nolan eventually signed on non-contract terms last week.
"It's great to be back and back involved at a proper club, and be back in a routine," said the 24-year-old.
"There's a few new faces, but most of them are the same, so I've settled back in straight away.
"I had five or six offers in the summer, but I didn't feel they were right for me.
"I could have gone abroad and could have stayed in England, but I didn't think they were right for me. Then things went quiet.
"I live in Doncaster, so I was training there because it's just down the road from me.
"I was training there for three or four months, from the end of August to just before Christmas.
"I was just there to keep fit really, that was the main thing I was there for.
"I had a couple of other offers before I came here, but I decided to come back here."
Nolan insists he is happy with what he has been offered by United.
It means the long-term future is still uncertain, but he prefers not to think about that, instead focusing on trying to work his way into the team.
"I have to take what I can get at the moment," he said.
"It's not nice being without a club, so I'm just happy to be back involved.
"Hopefully I can get into the team, take my chance and then you can start looking towards the future on a more permanent basis.
"There's no point talking about the future really.
"I just need to get back playing, then we can start thinking about that and looking to the future.
"I'm just taking it day by day, trying to force my way into the team. It's up to me then.
"I'm feeling fit.
"Obviously I haven't played any competitive match since the last game of last season, but I've played training ground games and that kind of thing.
"I feel fit, I just haven't played as many games as I would have liked.
"It's just match fitness, but I've looked after myself and I'm normally a fit lad."
Nolan is far from the only player to find himself unattached this season, a situation boss Laws described as 'alarming' but 'not surprising' given football's finances.
"There's a lot of players like that," explained the Irishman. "It's just the way football is.
"It's like a bit of a recession in football, if you want to put it that way. It's the same as the normal world.
"A lot of clubs are in the same position.
"I think it's the first season it's really been this bad.
"It's hard and it's not going to get much better.
"There's no money, that's what it comes down to at the end of the day. Clubs are having smaller squads because of the financial restrictions.
"I think it's more down to finance then it is ability.
"It's up to me now to get back playing every week."
In the meantime, he is taking on that junk food challenge with equal determination.
"I'm going to cut out all the junk food for Lent," Nolan stated. "It's going to be very tough but I'm going to try it anyway.
"I just said I wanted to try something this year and I said I'd try to stay off the junk food.
"I like a bar of chocolate every now and then, but I've never stayed off it for six weeks.
"It's going to be all sweets, chocolate, everything. I'm going to try to stick it out.
"It's going allright so far but I've only been doing it a couple of days…. I might get a bit hungry later."