BURY'S returning midfield general Stephen Dawson believes play-off heartbreak with Scunthorpe this season will spur him on to greater things at Gigg Lane.
The Irishman re-signed for the Shakers seven years after leaving for Leyton Orient, penning a three-year deal following the end of his contract at Glanford Parke.
A number clubs, including neighbours Oldham, made Dawson their number-one target this summer after he helped the Iron to third place in League One before eventually losing to Millwall in the play-offs.
“It will hurt for a long time,” Dawson said of the play-off semi-final defeat. “To feel that pain is a good thing I believe, it will drive me on even more this year."
Bury boss Lee Clark moved swiftly, with the help of first-team coach Chris Brass and chairman Stewart Day, to beat off his rivals and make the midfielder his third signing of the summer.
It is understood Dawson was close to making a shock deadline-day move back to Gigg Lane in January.
But while that deal fell through, Dawson is delighted to finally make his return.
“The move happened very quickly over the last couple of days," he said, after signing on Tuesday.
"From Brassy to the chairman and the gaffer ringing and texting me none stop, I’ve been made to feel really welcome.
“What the club is trying to achieve is something special and I want to play a big part of it.”
Brass was assistant to manager Alan Knill when he brought Dawson to Gigg Lane from Mansfield in June, 2008.
Dawson went on to make 97 appearances for the Shakers in his two seasons at the club, but he believes the Shakers have moved on leaps and bounds since his departure, not least moving from the old training ground on Lower Gigg to Manchester City’s former home in Carrington.
Now the midfielder is back and determined to play his part in Bury's big push to achieve Championship football.
“I remember Lower Gigg, walking down with our cones and bibs in the lashing rain, hoping our goalposts hadn’t been robbed,” Dawson joked.
“It’s a club that all these years I have always kept a close eye on. It’s great to be back and I’m looking forward to the good times ahead.”
Striker Jermaine Beckford kicked off a spree of three summer signings in five days, which also included Burton Albion full-back Phil Edwards.
Beckford signed a two-year deal last Friday and shares Dawson’s excitement ahead of the new season.
The former Preston and Leeds forward was in awe at Bury’s facilities and after being told of the chairman’s Championship dream he says his mind was made up.
“The vision I was sold by the manager and the chairman blew my mind,” Beckford said. “I’m really excited to get working with the manager and the chairman and help this club get to the next level of English football.
“The training ground is Premiership quality. (Sergio) Aguero, (Vincent) Kompany, Yaya Toure have all graced this training ground. If it’s good enough for them then it’s good enough for me.
“I’m so excited to be given the chance to play football again and showcase my talents.”