FORMER Chippenham Town hot-shot James Constable says that he still has a place in his heart for his old club.

The 25 year-old, who grew up in Malmesbury is now plying his trade for Conference Premier side Oxford United and his goals have spearheaded their push for promotion into the Football League.

Constable, known to fans at Hardenhuish Park as Beano, is the Conference’s second highest goalscorer and the striker retains a fondness for the Southern League side where he made his name.

“It feels like years and years ago that I was there but I haven’t forgotten it,” he said.

“Playing for Chippenham started me off on the career path I’m on now and they gave me a massive opportunity.

“They’re one of the first teams I look out for when I look at results.

“I also speak to Mingsey every now and again and Sammy Allison is a good friend of mine.”

The Bluebirds and Oxford are both due to be involved in the second round proper of the FA Trophy this weekend and if results and the draw are kind to them both, the two sides could come up against each other in the third round.

“It would be a nice feeling to go back to Hardenhuish Park,” said Constable.

“I went back there once after I left and that was great.

“It’s frustrating that we both play on the same days because I’d love to have been able to at least go back to watch some games.”

Constable was snapped up by Chippenham in 2003 after impressing during a reserve game for Cirencester Town.

The frontman became a fans’ favourite and went on to score 29 goals for the Bluebirds before taking the step up to League One with Walsall in November 2005.

Then manager Paul Merson spent £5,000 on the striker but, like the manager, he failed to make a lasting impact despite scoring a few goals.

He moved on to Kidderminster Harriers, where he scored twice in the 2007 FA Trophy Final at Wembley in 2007 but finished up on the losing side to Stevenage Borough.

“I was bitterly, bitterly disappointed,” he said.

“To score two goals was an amazing feeling, something I will never forget, but that was the last thing on my mind after the game. I was quite tearful watching them lift the cup.”

During his time at Kidderminster, in November 2007, he also played for England C in a 2-0 win over Finland in Helsinki.

He then to Shrewsbury Town in the January transfer window in 2008 but later that season moved to Oxford on loan last season.

Constable bagged 26 goals in 46 appearances and scooped up the accolades; being voted the Conference’s player of the year and fans’ player of the year.

The former Chippenham man signed a permanent three-year deal with the Us last April and has gone on to notch up 18 goals already this campaign.

“I don’t think anyone can believe the start we’ve made this season,” admits Constable.

“The aim at the start of the season was to get promotion and that’s still in our own hands.

“We’re only second in the table because we’ve had games called off .

“I’m really happy to be involved.

He added: “Scoring goals is what I get paid to do and it’s what I love doing.

“It’s nice to be a part of a team that’s doing well and it’s a really enjoyable place to be at the moment.”

Oxford are due to host Woking in the FA Trophy on Saturday.