PRODIGAL son Tom Kennedy is eager to set the record straight on his return to the JD Stadium and believes playing a part in promotion could be the perfect homecoming gift.

The 29-year-old left-back has signed on loan from Rochdale until January with a permanent deal on the cards if he settles back in at the place where he started his career.

Kennedy started as a 17-year-old and played more than 150 games for the Shakers in four years before falling out of favour under Chris Casper.

His move to local rivals Rochdale caused consternation among some sections of support.

And despite going on to play in the Championship with Peterborough and Barnsley before returning to Spotland, the Greenmount-based defender knows he will have to prove himself all over again.

“Things change,” he said, after coming through his second debut for the club with a point at Southend.

“Back then I was young, I was coming through. The whole ethics of the club, the people you socialised with was different. But I was a local boy so you are always going to get the spotlight put on you. It’s tough and it was hard for me coming up.

“People say I went to Rochdale and stuff like that, but if I don’t go to Rochdale what do I do? Do I go out of the league? Do I not play football anymore? It’s my job.

“I have got to do what is best for me and it worked out well for me in the end.

“It’s been eight years since I was last here, but I am here now and will give 100 per cent every game, do what is best for the club and hopefully help get us promoted.”

Kennedy’s rehabilitation as a Shaker will begin in earnest on Saturday, when Bury host Cambridge, but his first outing at Roots Hall passed without any backlash from the travelling support.

“The fans sounded fantastic, but even if I do take a bit of stick that’s part and parcel of the game,” he added. “I will take it on the chin, give 100 per cent and hopefully they will come around.”

But winning back his place as hometown hero icomes a distant second to promotion.

Kennedy has won promotion to League One with Rochdale and to the Championship with Peterborough, but would love to taste that kind of success back in his home town.

Such glories were a distant dream when he started out at Gigg Lane, but are now a very real prospect, as long as he and his team-mates are prepared to put in the hard yards.

“When I started here we were always fighting fires,” he said. “It was tough, we were a struggling side and were always up against it, fighting relegation.

“It is a different club altogether now. We are a top footballing side and I honestly believe if we keep giving 100 per cent and keep up the football the boys have been playing, promotion is 100 per cent achievable.

“The set-up, ambition and way they go about things is Championship in the making. I have played in the Championship and it’s not far from it.

“But this league is a tough league. You have got to fight as well as play football and I think the boys, especially away from home, are getting more used to that.”