Barnet striker John Akinde says the part-time status of former club Alfreton Town was the “only reason” he did not score more goals last season.
The former Bristol City and Portsmouth front man netted 18 times in the Conference last year as the Reds finished in 11th place – just three places and as many points behind the Bees.
Akinde’s form with Nicky Law’s side was enough to tempt Barnet head coach Martin Allen to make the striker one of his first signings of the summer, swooping to sign the 25-year-old on a two-year deal from the Derbyshire outfit at the end of May.
Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers saw Akinde score his first goal in black and amber and after drawing blanks in pre-season, the powerful forward believes he would have scored even more goals last term, had he been with a full-time club.
He explained: “I feel sharper in the games, I feel fitter and I feel stronger. It’s made a massive difference. I think that [being at a part-time club last season] is the only reason I didn’t score more goals last year; because of the lack of fitness – if you can say that.
“But we’re training every day and I feel good. All the boys feel good, look good and feel fit, so I’m really excited for the season.”
Victory over the Gas on Tuesday night – with strike partner and club captain, Charlie MacDonald scoring the Bees’ second – means Barnet top the Conference after two games but Akinde says the squad are not getting carried away at this early stage.
He said: “It means nothing at the moment. We want to be top at the end of the season, that’s when it really counts.
“It’s a good feeling but it’s only two games in, so we’ve got to keep performing over the next 40-odd games and see where we go from there but if we keep performing like that, I’m sure we’ll do very well.”
The Camberwell-born striker added: “After two great wins [the dressing room is on a high]. Bristol Rovers are strong team; I think they’re tipped for promotion so it’s good to get a win against a strong team as well.
“It’s looking good, everyone’s buzzing and we want to just keep performing this way.”
And whilst at the sharp end it’s been Akinde and MacDonald grabbing the headlines with three goals in two games, the former FA Trophy winner was quick to praise the Bees backline after back-to-back clean sheets.
“I think the boys look strong. I don’t think we looked like we were going to concede at the back we defended so well tonight – they’ve got to take credit as well and hopefully if they keep defending like that and we keep scoring, it looks good.”