ELLIOTT FREAR has promised Forest Green fans will see an even better player than the one who left to join Scottish Premiership Motherwell.

A fans’ favourite during his previous spell at the New Lawn, the prodigal son returns on a deal until January.

The flying 29-year-old winger has been a free agent since opting to leaving Fir Park at the end of last season. ‘Els’ as he’s affectionately known subsequently spent time on trial at Oxford United after mulling over a move to Robbie Neilson’s Dundee United. He most recently trained at hometown club Exeter City before Rovers’ head coach Mark Cooper invited him to their Stanley Park training headquarters this week.

Frear cut his footballing teeth with Exeter City before joining Salisbury City and then Forest Green under Ady Pennock. He headed north to Motherwell during the 2017 January transfer window and went on to clock up 74 appearances in the last three seasons.

And in his last spell at the New Lawn he enjoyed a real love-in with the Forest Green fans and he’s keen to rekindle the romance.

He beamed: “Hopefully I can repay the fans again and show them how much I have improved since I have been up in Scotland.

“The fans were great to me and my family, my wife and I really enjoyed our time in the area last time out.”

And Frear made no secret of the fact that Forest Green is undeniably his spiritual home and admitted several former players, including close friend Chris Stokes are in his WhatsApp old players group.

“There is no hiding that the most I have enjoyed my football, both on and off the pitch, is here at Forest Green and hopefully I can enjoy it again.

“My family love coming to Forest Green and my parents can now watch me on a regular basis as before they had to fly up to see me or watch on Sky Sports. My dad was buzzing when I told him I was re-joining.”

With a wife and young daughter, Frear felt the time was right to return to England after a successful spell in Scotland, where he rubbed shoulders with Premiership giants Celtic and Rangers.

He said: “For family reasons I wanted to return to England after I had a three-years in Scotland.

“Mark (Cooper) called and knows how and what I am all about and I feel ready.

“I drove up to the ground today and nothing has changed and it is good memories coming back, as soon as I stepped back through the door.

“I had a great time at Motherwell, enjoyed two domestic cup finals against Celtic and two good league finishes. They are huge games, both Parkhead and Ibrox are world-class stadiums and sell out every game. The first time I played at Ibrox I got goose bumps in tunnel, the noise was something else. Scoring at Celtic Park was a career highlight for me.

“I just felt like I needed a change of scenery and a different challenge. I had options in Scotland, but my wife and I wanted to come home.”

Frear was close to a switch to arch-rivals Cheltenham Town from Forest Green before Motherwell came calling during the 2017 January transfer window. The potential move to Cheltenham sparked a war of words between chairman Dale Vince and his then counterpart Paul Baker.

Frear recalled: “We held talks and I decided against it at the time, I was very happy at FGR and wanted to get the club promoted, the opportunity at Motherwell in January was something I couldn’t refuse at the time though.”

Frear insists he is far from reaching his peak as a footballer.

“I’ve been really lucky injury wise, so I’m hoping I’ve still got a good few years left at a high level.

“It’s been a long time since I started a game but first and foremost, I’m looking forward to getting in with the lads and feeling fit again.”

In his first spell at the New Lawn he went on to make 115 appearances for Rovers, scoring 13 times, including his memorable strike against AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup in 2015 to secure a 2-1 win over the then League Two side.

Frear was part of the side that made it to Wembley in the National League Play-off final against Grimsby, before being signed by Motherwell on a two-and-a-half year deal in January 2017, going on to make more than 60 appearances and scoring eight times.

Watch Frear in conversation with Ash Loveridge and Paul Furley.