BEING a non-league footballer is a totally different ball game to that of one in the Football League. The majority are forced to have another job to pay the bills, meaning competing in the sport they adore is often put on the back burner.

Ex-Bradford (Park Avenue) and Guiseley striker Adam Boyes is no different, with his football career stalling due to work commitments.

Last month, after a difficult couple of years at Spennymoor Town, the primary school sports coach dropped down two divisions to sign for Northern Premier League Division One North West side Marske United.

It is a remarkable fall from grace when you consider he was banging in 20 league goals at Horsfall just two seasons previously.

The mindset of a striker has to be different from any other position in the team. You know if you go a few games without finding the back of the net, that your name in the starting 11 is at risk.

This has played a part throughout the ex-York City and Scunthorpe United forward’s career and especially at his last club Town, where he only scored seven times altogether in the league.

He said: “If you go to a new club and don’t score for five or six games, you start thinking that they don’t think you’re any good and you start missing chances. It is very important to get off to a good start wherever you are.

“I have had spells when I haven’t scored but that isn’t down to the pressure, it’s over trying. Every game I play, I think I am going to go out there and score, no matter who it is against.

“When I first joined (Spennymoor), he (manager Jason Ainsley) was saying it was going to be 4-4-2 and I thought that would be great, but he never played that formation.

“He only did when Glen Taylor was injured and he played me up top with another lad, which worked really well. We won three out of three and were scoring goals. Taylor is a good player so he came back from injury and he was straight back in.

“It was frustrating because I knew I should have been playing. It wasn’t great getting the odd 10-15 minutes every week. That is why I had to get out of there.

“I have hardly played for a year and half so I need to be playing 90 minutes week in, week out. 50 games a season and getting back to where I want to be.”

It was his relationship with ex-Lions and current Avenue boss Mark Bower and assistant Danny Boshell that helped the striker produce his best form. Boyes scored a combined 64 goals in the 147 league matches he spent with the pair at both West Yorkshire clubs.

With Bradford on the lookout for a frontman after deciding not to keep Tom Clare, you would think Boyes would be the perfect replacement.

After receiving interest from fellow Vanarama National League North outfits Darlington and Blyth Spartans, the 29-year-old is far from done at this level.

However, Boyes knows there is one big stumbling block.

“I loved my time at Bradford,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the travelling, I would have never left.

“I still speak to Mark and Danny, and if they ever need advice on players I try to help them out. We still have a good friendship.

“I didn’t leave on bad terms. I left because I was working up here (in the North East) and it was taking me an hour and a half to get to training on a Tuesday and Thursday.

“I always said to Mark I wished he’d got a job up this way. He was up for the Darlington job, which would’ve been great for me. He used to play for them so I said, ‘you’d better get that job’ and he was laughing.

“With Mark and Danny there is no pressure put on me. I have played at clubs like Spennymoor and you make one mistake and the staff are on your case straight away so you start panicking.

“Danny was still playing so he was basically one of the lads and Mark had just stopped playing, so they knew how to get the players going.

“We had a few lads going from Guiseley to Bradford so it was like a coming together again, which always helped. It was a really close knit group.”

It is a shame that Boyes cannot be part of the club’s attempt to bounce back from last term’s bottom-placed finish, but he certainly serves as an example of the type of player Avenue will be targeting to headline their attack next season.