Elliott Frear was on the brink of a switch to Motherwell in the summer transfer window, but with time running out, the 26-year-old Forest Green Rovers winger couldn’t complete his switch before the deadline.
Marvin Johnson departed and he was never quite replaced, but in Frear, Mark McGhee may just have found the missing piece of his puzzle.
Frear, on the face of things, looks like he could be a direct replacement for the dangerous Johnson, now at Oxford United in League One, however, the winter arrival is a different style of winger.
Quick, tricky and with a terrific left foot, Frear boasts a number of qualities which will prove to be a huge boost for Motherwell and a big threat for other sides in the league.
“I know that there was interest last summer, but it’s been good to get up here and I’m settled in now.
“I knew a few of the boys here Motherwell before I came here from playing in the National League so I’m really looking forward to get going properly.”
Since the departure of Johnson in the summer, a left-sided midfielder is a position Mark McGhee has been keen to fill.
In Frear, the manager believes he’s found his man and he expressed his delight to secure Frear’s signature. He said: “We were delighted to secure Elliott’s signature in January, especially because we were keen to sign him in the summer.
“He’s a true winger, a left-sider and I’m really pleased that we’ve secured his signature because he brings a bit of balance to the squad.
“I look forward with anticipation to see him in action, he seems settled now and now comes the part where it’s all about impressing and getting in to the team. He has the right type of attitude which I feel is hugely important.”
A number of ‘Well stars have made the switch north and went on to be tremendous signings for the Steelmen, which Frear admits played a big part in his decision to sign for Mark McGhee’s side.
The winger said: “That was one of the main things really – along with signing for a big club like Motherwell – seeing the likes of Louis Moult and Marvin Johnson go on to do well here, so hopefully I can make the same impact and kick on.”
Frear may have made the bench against Rangers, Ross County and Hearts – but it was his brief taste of Premiership football against Rangers that Elliott admits has whetted his appetite.
“It was a good experience and the pace of the game was a lot different from what I’m used to.” He admitted. “Hopefully after a few weeks of training under my belt I’ll be ready to go as soon as the manager calls upon me. I’m ready to step up to the challenge.”
Louis Moult, Richard Tait and Craig Clay are just a few of the players who have made the jump from the English National League to the top flight of Scottish football, and the Englishman admitted he was encouraged by the success of both current and past stars who have come to Lanarkshire.
Elliott said: “The players that have come up from National League level have gone on to do really well, so that was a big part of the decision I made to come up here.
“I was interested in moving up to Scotland anyway, it seems like a nice place to be and while it’s a bit of a change I’m looking forward to it up here.”
He added: “I played with Louis Moult at England C level and I’ve obviously played against Marvin Johnson when he was at Kidderminster.
“Those players went on to do really well here of course and seeing that was part of the reason I made the decision to come up here.”
The close-knit spirit of the squad is something Elliott has found encouraging so far.
He said: “It’s been a change of lifestyle so far but I feel I’ve settled. I need to adjust to the pace of the league and the pace of training, but I’ve been made to feel really welcome by all of the boys and everyone around the club too so I hope we can go on to have a good second half of the season.”
“I nearly joined in the summer so I was always keeping an eye on the results and how the team were getting on. I watched the Aberdeen and Rangers games and I got an idea how the team set up and it was hugely encouraging and something I wanted to be a part of.
“I lived in Cheltenham when the potential move came about on deadline day in the summer, so it was a bit tough to get up to Glasgow in four hours and obviously Marvin Johnson’s move was a bit touch and go at that stage so it was all a bit too late.
“I’m a little bit different to Marvin – I’m a winger who likes to cross the ball really and I may be a bit of a replacement but I’m a different style.”