JIMMY Oates always thought that he would play for Hereford again as he marked his return with a headed goal as his side won 3-2 at Blyth Spartans.

The 27-year-old is on loan at Edgar Street until the end of the season from Exeter City, where he left Hereford for in the summer after signing a full-time contract.

Oates worked with Bulls Head Coach Marc Richards when he arrived in the UK from his native Australia as a Hartpury College student.

He said that relationship was a contributing factor in his return.

“It was always in the back of my mind that I’d come back although I didn’t know when or how that would happen,” said Oates.

“It wasn’t a massively hard decision and there were a couple of options. I’ve got a lot of love for the club and with (Marc) Richards and Tim (Harris).

“I was more than happy to come back here despite the travelling.

“It felt awesome putting the shirt on today and seeing all the old faces at the club has been brilliant. It couldn’t have been much better, I’m just pretty glad we won. It’s Australia Day today so I’m pretty stoked about that.”

Playing in an uncommon number nine shirt for a natural defender Oates marked the occasion with a headed goal to put the Bulls 2-0 ahead.

“It seemed like I had a lot of time there at the front post but I was glad it went in,” added Oates.

“It was a great win for the boys and we dug in at the end there.

“We knew we had to do the basics well and started well and got the goal with Tom (Owen-Evans) through.

“We made it difficult for ourselves at the end there but manager to hang on. We knew they were going to come out strong and weathered the storm a little bit in the first half as well.

“We were confident coming out in the second half we were confident and just had to stick together and that’s what we did.

Richards said that he back Oates to score from a set-piece.

He said: “We had a discussion about set-pieces and I said he is going up and he is attacking the ball as I know what he can do.”

Despite only leaving in the summer most of his team-mates had not met Oates.

He added: “There is only three or four but I feel like I know the boys already.

“They all seem a good bunch of lads and hopefully we can put some wins together now. Straight away I can see some big characters in the group who definitely shine.

“We need to get a win at home next week and really get the fans behind us again and put a few together.”

When asked about what the message was from Exeter City ahead of the loan deal.

Oates said: “Just to get in the swing of playing.

“To get a good run of games in. It’s never easy being left out and mentally to pick yourself up every week. I’m just focusing on training as hard as I can each day and that’s what I’m there to do is to develop as a player and I’ve just got to focus on that.

“I’ve definitely learnt a lot being down there just small parts of the game that I was probably over-looking.

“That’s what I’m trying to work on and it will be good to implement them in the games now. I’ve been craving that competitiveness and it was awesome to get out there today and get the win.”