Hotshot John Sands looking to silence Bury Town faithful today as Canvey Island visit Ram Meadow

John Sands celebrating one of many goals in the colours of former club, Bury Town

John Sands celebrating one of many goals in the colours of former club, Bury Town - Credit: James Ager

Former Bury Town goalscoring machine John Sands returns to Ram Meadow with Canvey Island today looking to fire his new side to three points against his old club.

Sands controversially switched alliances in the Ryman Premier Division last term having wanted a new challenge away from the Suffolk outfit.

The talented frontman became a popular figure during his three-year stay at Bury, scoring 59 goals in 105 appearances for the Blues.

But after handing in a transfer request with an arguable sideways move to Essex side Canvey the result, Sands’ name is often now looked at with raised eyebrows by Bury fans.

Asked what kind of reception he’s expecting today, his first visit back to Ram Meadow since departing 10 months ago, Sands replied: “I’m hoping for a really nice and welcoming one.

“I don’t know what to expect to be honest, I’m sure there will be bits and pieces said on and off the field towards me, but I’ll be getting my head down and doing what I do best - scoring goals.

“Any abuse I get doesn’t bother me in the slightest - if I get some, I’ll be using that to silence them.”

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Despite his controversial Bury exit, it’s fair to say that Sands was more than ‘at home’ at the west Suffolk club as his goals helped propel the club to the Ryman Premier play-offs among other accolades in recent years.

On a personal level, Sands’ 27 league goals during the 2012/13 season won him the Ryman Premier Division Golden Boot award.

“I look at my time with Bury with fond memories,” declared Sands.

“I had some great years there and I scored a lot of goals - maybe one day I’d like to pull on the Bury shirt again but I can’t really see that happening.

“It’ll be weird using the away dressing room, but it’ll be nice to see some old faces - and whoever wants to shake my hand or stay for a beer after with me is welcome to, whatever the result.”

Sands admits that he has visions of scoring at his former hunting ground - but to do so, he must get past old team-mate and close-friend, Marcus Garnham.

“Marcus is a good goalkeeper but he’ll be picking the ball out of the net from me on Monday,” exclaimed Sands.

“I remember back when we were playing in the lower leagues (Sands was playing for Mildenhall Town, Garnham for Woodbridge Town), I rounded him before scoring and that’ll be happening again.”

Laughing while remembering that moment, Garnham fuelled the rivalry by adding: “I’ve learnt from that - If he tries to do that again, I’ll smash him!”

Garnham continued: “Sandsy is a love him or hate him figure.

“He’s a bit full of himself but that’s how he breeds his confidence and scores his goals so fair play to him.

“He scored some fantastic goals for Bury. I’m sure he’ll get plenty of grief on Monday, but he loves it and will play up to it.

“We’ve had a bit of banter together and I’ve said to myself that I don’t care whether any of their players score - Sandsy is definitely not scoring!”

Kick-off is at 3pm today.