CANVEY Island defender Mike Finneran is loving life at his boyhood club.

Finneran joined the Gulls from Isthmian North rivals Grays Athletic during the summer and made his debut in the 2-1 victory over Romford on the opening day of the season.

And Finneran, who watched Canvey from the stands as a kid, is relishing his chance with Mark Bentley’s side.

“I had a few offers in pre-season but I remained patient and was hoping for Mark to contact me as that’s the only club I wanted to go to after deciding to move on from Grays,” said Finneran.

“Making my debut against Romford was great.

“There are a few other Canvey boys too, which is great for the island and the club.

“I get on really well with everyone behind the scenes at Canvey and they remember me as kid.”

Finneran is in line to make his home debut when former club Grays make the trip to Park Lane tonight.

And, despite leaving Jim Cooper’s outfit just a matter of months ago, Finneran insists the clash holds no more significance than any other fixture.

“Of course, I am looking forward to tonight’s game, but it’s only another game,” added Finneran.

“I don’t really look into matches too much hand I turn up to every game with the same attitude.

“Grays were fantastic to me, especially chairman Steve Skinner, who I had a great relationship with.

“We are still in touch frequently and he was the first person I called when I decided I wouldn’t be returning to Grays for pre-season.

“I didn’t even tell my dad at first!

“It wasn’t a conversation that I wanted to have because I had to think of myself for a change and I couldn’t be happier that Canvey contacted me.”

Canvey head into tonight’s encounter having picked up all three points against Romford three days ago.

Although former Hullbridge Sports striker Jimmy Cox gave Romford the lead, a second half brace from George Purcell ensured the Gulls would triumph.

And Finneran has high hopes for his first campaign with the club he supported as a boy.

The 25-year-old admitted: “There is a really good feeling on and off the pitch.

“There is a real togetherness and, over time, that will only get stronger.

“Mark has worked us hard in pre-season and has had a successful career. He is very well respected and rightly so.

“He has told us what he expects and it’s down to us to achieve what he strives for.

“Mark has made it very clear that everyone’s shirt is up for grabs, which results in healthy competition for the squad.

“Having players like James White, George Purcell and Lamar Johnson is massive because they could walk into any team in the league above.”