Ian Lawlor has been a substitute in the past at Dens – for English giants Manchester City.
Now, though, after signing a two-year deal with Dundee earlier this week, the big goalie is determined he will be between the sticks and not warming the bench for James McPake’s Premiership new boys this season.
Lawlor could make his debut against Forfar in the Premier Sports Cup seven years after he was last at Dens with Manuel Pellegrini’s City side.
The 26-year-old said: “I was on the bench here in 2014, for a pre-season friendly.
“I didn’t get on but when I came here a couple of weeks ago, they were quite familiar surroundings.
“I learned a hell of a lot at Manchester City. I trained with some world-class players and goalies.
“We all know they have the money to get who they want.
“But I needed to be out playing league football to get experience and be in the real world almost.
“I was never going to break through at Man City.
“The calibre of the keepers they had ahead of me was outrageous like Joe Hart and Willy Caballero.
“There were loads so I knew I needed to go and play.
“It wasn’t a big shock that I needed to leave – I wanted to leave.
“I wanted to play league football in front of fans.
“That was more important for me than Under-23 football – it was time to go into the real world.”
Dundee via Doncaster
After leaving City, Lawlor spent four years with Doncaster Rovers but now he is determined to seize his chance with Dundee.
However, the Irishman knows he has a fight on his hands to wrestle the No.1 jersey from Adam Legzdins, who was a key player for the Dark Blues as they won promotion last season.
Lawlor said: “I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with my agent and he said the gaffer wanted me to come in and train.
“They wanted to have a look at me and I was desperate to come here.
“I knew a bit about the club, that they had won promotion last season so I thought if I could go in, give a good account of myself hopefully something would come of it.
“I love football and it is all I want to do.
“So it was an easy enough decision to move up here.”
Lawlor added: “I appreciate the opportunity I have been given here and I am here to stay now.
“Adam has been flying and we get on really well.
“It is good competition and I am going to keep my head down and work as hard as I can.
“At the end of the day, we both want the team to do well – that’s the main objective for the team to win games.
“But hopefully one day I will get my opportunity.”
If he does receive a chance, Lawlor is already looking forward to the Dundee derbies as well as big games at Ibrox and Celtic Park.
Lawlor added: “I played in League 1 and 2 In England for the last few years.
“So when I got the opportunity to come here and have games against Celtic and Rangers as well as the derbies with Dundee United, it was something that really appealed to me and excited me.
“I really wanted that challenge – it is a new experience for me and it is something I am looking forward to.”