EVAN Horwood has led something of a nomadic existence as a professional footballer.

The 25-year-old has appeared for eight clubs, but it’s only since moving to his ninth, Hartlepool United, that he really feels at home.

Not surprising really, as the left-back was born and bred in the town.

After starting out at Sheffield United, he moved on loan to Stockport, Scunthorpe, York, Chester and Darlington, before securing permanent deals at Gretna and Carlisle.

But given a free transfer from Brunton Park at the end of last season, his sights were fixed on only one option.

Pools have not had a recognised left-back since Hugh Robertson in 2005, as Ritchie Humphreys and Peter Hartley moved from their preferred positions.

Now, however, Pools’ defence already has a more natural look to it.

And, with home being a few minutes drive from Victoria Park, Horwood couldn’t be happier.

On the back of Tuesday’s win over Sheffield United in the Carling Cup, Horwood is out to make a solid start to the season into a good one against Swindon Town this afternoon.

“It was a great result against my old club in midweek, I thought the lads were brilliant and we deserved it,’’ he said.

“It was good for me to meet a few of my old team-mates and I enjoyed my home debut in front of the fans and my family.

“It couldn’t have gone better really.

“I’m loving it. It’s just a fiveminute drive home for me and not a two-hour camper van ride.

“Hopefully the fans can get behind us for the rest of the season. There were a lot there at Rochdale who will have passed on their thoughts about how well we played and hopefully they can stay behind us for the rest of the season.

“I’ve been at a few clubs so I don’t get nervous any more on my debuts – I’m used to it now!

“Hopefully I can get settled at the club, like I was at Carlisle, I enjoyed my time there.

“I didn’t really want to leave but what’s happened has happened and it’s for the better really. I’m at a club that I love.

“I believe in myself and just go out and play my football and try to give it my all.

“Hopefully we can build on the experience of last season and get a few more results.

“Talking to the lads, they should have got a lot more good results than they did and conceded a lot of goals late on.

“Maybe the experience from last season can help us move up the table now.”

Swindon have suffered back-to-back defeats in their opening games and as former Pools boss Danny Wilson takes last season’s beaten play-off finalists to Victoria Park, Horwood hopes to make the most of their stuttering start.

“It would be brilliant to get our first league win, that’s important now,’’ he said.

“I don’t know if it’s a good time to play Swindon after they lost in the play-off final last year.

“That happened to us when I was at Carlisle, we got into the play-offs then got off to a bit of a stuttering start the following season.

“Maybe it does work like that, it depends what frame of mind they’re in. But we will be going into the game thinking we can get three points and thinking about ourselves.

“If we can get off to the same sort of start as we did the other night I’m sure we won’t have any problems.’’ While new signings have been thin on the ground at Victoria Park this summer, three of them, Horwood included, are former teammates.

“The lads have been brilliant and I knew one or two of them before I came here,’’ he said.

“Me, Paul Murray and Fabian Yantorno have signed – I was with them at Gretna and they are really good pros and really good lads.

“I’m loving it and I keep getting told that we’ve been waiting for a left-back for a number of years so hopefully I can make that position my own.

“I’ve still got Peter Hartley to contend with and hopefully I can fight him off for the rest of the season.

“At Carlisle a few seasons ago there was only me and I think I dropped my standards a bit really. Having somebody like Peter, who is such a good pro in training, competing with me is brilliant.”