JOSH Todd has travelled the long road to reach full-time football, but the 22-year-old says it’s all been worth it after sealing a move to St Mirren last month.
Todd was a trainee at Carlisle United before making the short trip north of the border to Annan, where he spent nearly three seasons before moving to Dumbarton last summer.
Other clubs were put off signing him as Annan would be due compensation, the figure at that time was still unknown with Annan thought to have demanded as much as £15k.
The Sons signed him on amateur terms, presumably in an attempt to avoid paying the compensation, but were still forced to cough up a figure believed to be £5k at an SFA tribunal.
That meant Todd played for Dumbarton for free for six months, the club only paid his fuel costs.
The midfielder had to drive from his parents' home in Carlisle to Sons training twice a week and for matches, racking up around 600 miles per week up and down the M74 while working part-time in a petrol station to make ends meet.
Todd says he didn’t think twice about taking a financial hit to further his career in the Scottish Championship.
He said: “In the summer teams didn’t want to take me because there was a compensation fee due to Annan. Dumbarton was an option to go amateur, it was either that or stay at Annan and as a footballer I wanted to progress.
"At this stage it is not about money, it is about trying to play as high a level as I can. I saw a chance to play two leagues higher than I had been and thought I’m going to have to take a financial hit to try and make gains in my career.
"It’s been a tough six months but I think it has paid off with the St Mirren move.”
Todd has featured twice from the substitutes' bench for St Mirren and arrives with the club in a perilous position, seven points adrift at the bottom of the Championship.
However the midfielder insists Saints have a good enough squad to mount a miraculous escape from relegation and the influx of 10 new players in January will spur the Buddies on in the coming weeks.
He added: “My first impression in training was I was quite surprised at the quality in the squad considering our league position. It’s about trying to pinpoint any issues we might have had and move forward.
“There’s far more quality in the squad than the league position suggests.
“With 10 players coming in and 10 going out the new players that have come in are trying to make an impression and the players who have been here all season know the new guys are after their jerseys.
“There’s a healthy competition for places and that is only going to help us progress."