Few will have expected January signing Tom Aldred to have hit the ground running as easily as he has.
But for ‘Well’s number 19, who is back in Scotland for a second stint, he is feeling settled in his new surroundings at Fir Park.
“I’m loving it here,” said the January recruit from Bury. “I knew I’d made the right decision after just a few days.
“The manager, the staff and all the lads are brilliant, it’s just an easy place to feel settled.”
With the suspension and injury to Peter Hartley, Tom’s arrival could not have come at a better time for manager Stephen Robinson.
Without the ever-present Hartley, Robinson would be without one of his most important players.
But 27-year-old Aldred has arrived in Lanarkshire and slotted in alongside Cédric Kipré and Charles Dunne in the Fir Parkers’ back three.
And in his seven appearances, the defender has kept an impressive four clean sheets.
“It’s always great for a defender to keep a clean sheet, but it’s just an added bonus because the main thing is to get three points, because that’s the main thing of course.
“We’ve got a big game coming up against Kilmarnock, and it’s important for a number of reasons.
“Firstly, to try and put some points between ourselves and Killie. If we can manage to do that it puts us in a strong position for cementing ourselves a place in the top six.
[pullquote]But on top of that, and most importantly in my opinion, it keeps our winning run going and that can play a huge part.[/pullquote]
“With some important league games and a big quarter final in the Scottish Cup, we need to make sure we head in to every game on the back of a good performance and a good result.
Aldred may not be a stranger to the Scottish league, but he believes his second stint north of the border is one he is ready to grab with both hands.
The central defender, who has signed on loan at Motherwell until the end of the 2017/18 season, had a short spell in the Scottish Premiership earlier in his career with Inverness CT.
Having also represented the country at youth level, the 27-year-old wasn’t going to pass up the chance to move to Fir Park when the chance arose.
“Playing in the Scottish Premiership was something I was really interested in. I’m familiar with Scotland. My mum’s side of the family are Scottish and I’ve visited up here a few times.
“So I’m really glad to be in Scotland, and here with Motherwell. And after the brilliant cup run earlier this season, it’s brilliant to be a part of the group now that we’re on the brink of another return to Hampden.
“If we can go out there against Hearts and play to our best, we have a real, real chance.”
Settling in was never going to be a problem for Tom, who says he gets on well with the boys in the dressing room.
“I knew a few of the boys before I got here as I’ve played with some of them, and against some off them too, down in England.”
Joining up with a side who were performing well in the first half of the season could present a difficult challenge for a player. But Tom thrives from competition.
“Wherever you go now, there’s competition for places,” he said. “Anywhere you go at any team, at any level. The more competition, the best it brings out in yourself.
“I was really looking forward to getting my head down, working hard and being the best I can be for the football club and I’m grateful to the manager for giving me the chance.
“Things got off to a good start for us this year. To keep two clean sheets in the first two games was obviously a good start, but it’s only the start, so it was something to build on and go on from there.
“We’re on the back of two clean sheets again so it would be nice to stretch that to three games today.”
Stephen Robinson has built a strong, well-drilled side at Fir Park and Tom admits he greatly admires the work done at Motherwell.
“The manager is so organised and tactically astute. As a defender it’s brilliant and he’s a fantastic manager to work for.
“Everyone in the team knows their job, sticks to it and, most importantly, works for each other and for the manager.
“We have such a drive and desire to win. That, in my opinion, is something that you don’t always get in such abundance in one dressing room.
“Hopefully we can go out there today and do our best from the first whistle, and get that all important win.”