From now on, field work will mean time on the pitch as prop Fagan makes return
Sensible enough to put his master's degree before his rugby, purposeful prop Al Fagan concedes he hasn't had the amount of pitch time he would have liked this season.
Now though, the 22-year-old biodiversity and conservation student is hoping to enjoy some regular field work of a different kind.
Study commitments have limited Fagan to just three appearances in the Scunthorpe RUFC front row in National Three Midlands this term – the last game of which came a fortnight ago, a 35-20 home defeat against Syston.
Having returned to Heslam Park in the summer, on the back of a year in National Two North with Hull Ionians, he says he is "chomping at the bit" to play a more prominent role – starting this weekend when the Greens host Broadstreet.
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"I've really missed it. I'm keen to get back and play," he told the Telegraph.
"But you can only do so much and with obviously paying for my master's course, I've got to put that first.
"The course involves loads of different things, lots of conservation modules and fieldwork with different organisations like the Environment Agency and The National Trust.
"I can't wait to be back involved. That was one of the reasons I came back this summer.
"I've missed the whole club atmosphere at Scunny as well, being with the lads."
Fagan, who hails from Winteringham, was part of the mini-junior section at Heslam Park, progressing all the way through the different age groups and then into the first-team fold.
His experience at Level Four makes him one of the more senior members of what is a youthful squad, though he admits his time north of the Humber was not always easy.
"It was a really good experience to play at the higher level," he explained.
"Again the problem with university was there and they were a bit more strict, saying that I needed to play every game whereas Tim is much more understanding.
"I started quite a few games and for the others I was on the bench, but then I got injured and broke my hand just after Christmas.
"By the time I was coming back, a lot of the games were must-win games and had a lot of pressure on them.
"At the same time I was doing my dissertation, essays and exams. It was a lot to handle, so because of that my first-team chances suffered.
"Even while I was at Hull I'd always phoned Tim (Robinson, Scunthorpe coach) and spoken to him about how to manage my commitments because he's been through a very similar thing."
Fagan returns to the Scunthorpe fold with the club in the bottom four on the back of a 52-17 loss at high-flying Ampthill – a match of two contrasting halves.
The Greens have now lost their last three league matches, and five out of the last six, but the powerful forward insists his side's current position is nothing to be concerned about for the moment.
"I can imagine it probably seems like a worry to someone on the outside of the club," he continued.
"It's hard to explain why, but it's not a concern at all.
"Sometimes you don't get the result that you want. That has happened a few times.
"But even in the games we've lost this season, we've played really well and done what we can with what we've got.
"I'm not worried at all about being in the relegation zone. That can be pulled back.
"We've had a few tough games on the bounce and that makes a difference.
"We've got to keep our heads down and keep working hard to try to eliminate those errors – that's all we can do.
"When we come up against teams like Ampthill again, I'm sure you'll see a very different scoreline."