He may have ended last season with 31 goals to his name, but Tooting & Mitcham United striker Jake Baxter could have had even more.

The only thing that prevented the 27-year-old from adding to his tally was the under-study role he played to Danny Summers and Jamie Byatt in the first half of the season.

Baxter, who has committed himself to the Terrors for next season, only had four goals to his name by the middle of November before he got his chance and grabbed it with both hands.

Not that the former striker of Combined Counties League side Cove is complaining, on the contrary, he was expecting the wait.

“I had to bide my time a little because we had a couple of strikers in there from the season before,” he said.

“I was watching and eager to get on and prove myself, but where I had come the league below I understood why I was not getting picked straight away.

“But once it all clicked, I though it went very well.”

He added: “Frank [Wilson, manager] said he wanted me at Tooting and that he would give me a chance – and when it came I scored the first time I played up front and it just carried on from there.”

Baxter, who spent six years at the Fulham academy as a youngster, was an unknown quantity in Ryman Division South football last time round.

However, he knows all too well that he will be a marked man when the fun starts again in August.

“I have to start scoring straightaway – but if we can keep the same team, now we’re used to playing as a team, hopefully we can all settle straightaway,” he said.

“And now I’ve played at that level, I will be more prepared about what to expect – and I can go to teams with more confidence knowing I have scored against them before.”

He added: “The difference between the leagues is that everyone is a little bit fitter.

“In the CCL, you get teams who are ok footballers, but after about an hour they get tired and you can take advantage.

“At Ryman level you have to be on your game all the time.”