By Charlie Peat
JAYDEN Stockley is yearning for something substantial to put on his footballing CV and believes he’s in exactly the right place to do that at Exeter.
The 24-year-old scored ten goals for the Grecians while on loan from Bournemouth in the second half of 2015-16 before making a permanent move to Aberdeen.
But, one season later, Stockley opted to return to St James Park – only this time it was for a club-record fee in the region of £300,000.
And the front man says his return to Devon, where he is hoping to lift Paul Tisdale’s high-flying team out of League Two, is an ideal fit.
He said: “I had quite a few options but nothing concrete. I didn’t really force anything, but as soon as Exeter were in for me I said to my agent I wanted to go back there.
“I wouldn’t say I was destined to go there but it just felt right.
“We want to be a bit more consistent as a team. It’s all about automatic promotion.
“I want something on my CV I can look back on and think I played a big part of. The target of automatic promotion has been drummed into us.
“We want to be consistent and we want to go one better than last season. It was heart-breaking to see the lads lose in the (play-off) final but it seems to have spurred a lot of them on.”
Stockley has bagged eight league goals so far this campaign, three more than he netted in the whole of last season with Aberdeen.
He puts that down to the influence of long-serving manager Tisdale and claims his style of management has brought the best out of him in front of goal.
“I feel a freedom on the pitch,” he said. “He does put pressure on you and he knows what he wants from you, but he tells you at the start what you need to work on.
“Not many managers out there look to coach people any more and look to improve players, so he’s one of the few that looks to get the best out of you and bring you on as a player.
“He’s done a brilliant job at Exeter to make them a stable club. He’s had a lot of tricky times but has produced some really good teams.”
Part of the Bournemouth academy, Stockley had to be given special permission to miss a GCSE maths lesson to join up with Eddie Howe’s first team in 2009 – an experience he will never forget at just 16.
But his time with the Cherries is tinged with regret as he went out on loan ten times while Bournemouth made their meteoric rise all the way to the Premier League.
Nonetheless, Stockley is looking to carve out his own fairytale at Exeter.
He said: “I saw my future at Bournemouth at the time. I wanted to make a real impression but it never materialised.
“It is quite sad for me to think I didn’t make it there, but I’ve got the chance now to do something here. Hopefully I can have my own success story.”