McChrystal clear that Scunthorpe United newcomer is playing for his future at club
IN TWO, whirlwind, appearances, Mark McChrystal has seen the best and worst of Scunthorpe United.
On the final day of last season, when the Northern Irishman at least appeared to have a future at Tranmere Rovers, he was hugely impressed with the Iron in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Against Bury on Tuesday, the opening game of the defender's month on loan at Glanford Park, the impression is understandably not as favourable.
Fortunately for both parties, there is plenty of time for that to change.
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And having been brought in to provide experienced cover with David Mirfin injured and captain Paul Reid banned until the middle of December, McChrystal wants to be part of any Iron improvement.
"That game on the final day of last season, I thought Scunthorpe played us off the park," recalled the 28-year-old to the Telegraph.
"That makes me think that this team is under-achieving.
"It's early to say the club is in a relegation scrap, but at the same time we're in the bottom four and until you get out of it, that's the situation we're in.
"I think the team is good enough to get out of it, hopefully I can help.
"On Tuesday, I was just delighted to be playing football again.
"The club needed cover at this moment in time and I'm here for a month. Hopefully it all goes well and we'll see where it take us."
The Iron's display aside, that 1-1 draw at Prenton Park last term holds mixed memories for McChrystal.
He headed the home side in front – his sole goal in English football – early on, though later left the field injured.
It is also the last time he represented Rovers competitively.
While Tranmere tower over the rest of League One, two points clear at the top of the table, McChrystal, who moved to Merseyside from Derry City in January 2011, has fallen down the pecking order.
It is that scenario which opened the door for his move to United, which was completed just hours before his new club went down 2-1 to the Shakers.
"The first year and a half at Tranmere I played regularly and really enjoyed it," he said.
"It's been frustrating this season. You come back and work hard pre-season but then the lads have started well – there's not much you can do about that.
"The team is flying and everybody is doing well, which is great, but from a personal point of view you want to be playing because it's your career. As a footballer you don't want to be watching.
"I've kept my head down and kept working hard, waiting for an opportunity.
"Obviously that didn't come at Tranmere so I'm here for a month to get games under my belt. I'm looking forward to it.
"I think you're always playing for your future and you should go into every game as though that's the case.
"There's always people watching, whether it's here or somewhere else.
"Hopefully I can do myself justice and we'll see what happens."
Although a former trainee at Wolves – where he was part of the same youth set-up as fellow Iron loanee Leon Clarke – most of McChrystal's football has been in Northern Ireland, with his home town club Derry, where he has had three separate spells.
"I'm from Derry, so it's always good to play for your home town team," he said.
"Football in Ireland was booming there for a few years. Everything was going really well and a lot of players in the division have moved across.
"They went bust a few years ago but came back and when I returned everything went well.
"I always keep an eye on how they're getting on but in terms of your career, I think England is the place to play.
"I've always wanted to get back across, so now I'm here I have to make the most of it."
Scunthorpe, in the short term at least, will give him that opportunity.