JAMIE Stott is looking forward to the biggest game of his career months after being released by Oldham Athletic.
The Failsworth-raised defender has helped Stockport County reach the third round of the Emirates FA Cup when they play hosts to Premier League club West Ham in early January.
“It will be a big game, the biggest of my career and fingers crossed I stay fit and well and I am selected,” he said.
“Let’s hope we are in Tier 2 by then and some of our supporters can watch the game.”
Stott admitted County have seized their chance after losing to Chesterfield in the last qualifying round of the cup.
He said: “We were beaten but were given a second chance when Chesterfield were found to have played an ineligible player.
“We took our chance by beating them when the game had to be replayed and since then beaten League One side Rochdale and Yeovil.”
Stott delivered the cross in extra-time which Connor Jennings headed the decisive goal in a dramatic 3-2 victory.
The only other time Stott came remotely close to featuring against a Premier League side was when Oldham won at Fulham two seasons ago in the third round of the FA Cup.
“I was on loan at Stockport County so missed out on that game,” he said.
Stott’s release by Oldham marked the end of an era for the 22-year-old as, remarkably, he had been at Boundary Park since the age of eight.Stott, who made 21 first-team appearances for Latics, has signed a two-year deal at National League club Stockport County where he had previously enjoyed three loans spells from Latics.
And having played 48 times for the Hatters, Edgeley Park is home from home for Stott.
He said: “I enjoyed my time at Oldham, but the time had come to move on.
“It is a new start and new challenge which I am looking forward to. I have no regrets.
“I have settled in perfectly and the team is doing well as we are hoping to get back into the EFL.”
Stott, who was also loaned by Latics to Curzon Ashton and AFC Fylde, was talent spotted by Latics’ community programme team when they put on coaching sessions at South Failsworth Primary.
In those days Stott was a midfield player for Moston Brook and he played on the same school team as Cameron Humphries and Aaron Nemane who both joined Manchester City.
Humphreys, capped by England at Under-16, 17, 18 and 19, is now at Belgium club Zulte Waregem and Nemane at National League side Torquay United.Stott, who also went to Failsworth High School, emerged through Latics’ centre of excellence and academy system and aged 15-16 switched from midfield to centre back, an area where the club has been especially strong.
He said: “I was lucky to play and train with some very good players, the likes of Anthony Gerrard and Peter Clarke who both have had great careers.
“I played in the youth team alongside George Edmundson, a good friend, who is doing well in Scotland at Rangers.
“And the club currently has young Tom Hamer who is flying at the moment and looks to have a great future ahead of him.”
Stott, a member of County’s National League North title-winning team of 2018-19, does not view it as a backwards step joining a non-league club which has recently gone full-time.
County have enormous potential, underlined by being in the Championship for five seasons in the 1990s and narrowly missing out on the play-off to the Premier League.
Stott, who admitted to having other clubs interested in him, said: “Stockport is a very big club which should not be where it is, and would be massive in any league.
“Stockport is a big town and it is a well-supported and well-run club.
“The fans are amazing, the way they get behind the team. That’s why the club has given them the 12th man shirt.
“The club has a new owner, Mark Stott, and is assembling a great squad to try and get back into the EFL (English Football League).
“I am ambitious, and it is great to join a club with ambition and hopefully it will be an exciting journey.”
County manager Jim Gannon said: “It is great to see the return of Jamie, a player well known to the staff, players, and fans.
“He proved to be a very popular member of the team in 2018-19 and we are all aware of the impact he had, while on loan, in that title winning season.
“He forged a great partnership with Ash Palmer at the heart of our defence and earned himself the young-player-of-the-year award to go with his champions’ medal.
“It was understandable that Jamie returned to Oldham Athletic and attempted to establish himself as a Football League player with his home-town club.
“I continued to watch his progress with interest and was delighted to be at Boundary Park to witness Jamie’s winning goal against Liverpool U21s in the Football League Trophy.
We approached Latics about a return of Jamie to Edgeley Park last season. However, a number of factors meant we couldn’t proceed at that time.”