STAR striker Paul Mullin revealed he turned down a move to Shrewsbury Town because his heart is with Accrington Stanley.
The 33-year-old admitted he was tempted by the switch to the Reds’ League Two rivals after they two clubs agreed a £75,000 fee for the 11-goal hitman.
And he had sleepless nights thinking about ending his seven-year association with Stanley.
But he is on the verge of signing a new contract at the FES and wants to play out the rest of his career at Accrington.
Contrary to reports, Mullin has not yet put pen to paper on a new two-year deal with the Reds but expects to sign a new contract either today or next week as his current deal is up at the end of the summer.
"There are still a few things to iron out but I want to see out my career at Accrington," he said yesterday.
"I wouldn’t have stayed here so long if I didn’t enjoy it and I want to stay - I am happy here.
"I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted by Shrewsbury. Other clubs have been interested in the past but this went further because a fee was agreed between the two clubs.
"I was surprised at the price tag - especially for someone my age - but that was nothing to do with me. I spoke to Shrewsbury and the set-up there is great, with the new stadium, and they are really ambitious.
"I had a huge list of pros and cons but in the end, there were several factors - including my family - which made me decide it was not the right move for me. This past week has been awful thinking about what to do.
"I have not slept for six days with loads of things going around in my head but by Monday, I decided I wanted to stay - and hopefully see out the rest of my career here."
And Mullin - after promotions with the Reds from the UniBond Premier Division into the Football League - wants to see another one before he ends his football career.
"At my age, I want to play as high as I can and I spoke to Stanley boss John Coleman and he laid out the club’s ambitions - that they want another promotion, they want to push forward and that is important at my stage of the career.
"I have still got big designs on playing in League One and I want to do that with Accrington. I don’t want to just play somewhere that is surviving year after year but want to go on and Accrington want to do the same."
When the striker’s deal is finalised, he will follow in the footsteps of returning midfielder Ian Craney who signed a club record £85,000 three-and-a-half year deal from Swansea City last Friday.
And Mullin is now out to increase his 11-goal tally - which has attracted all the attention.
"I got 16 goals last season and I always want to go better so hopefully I can get 20," he said.
"We have done well with goals as Procky (Andy Procter) and Roscoe (Dsane) have got their share while Ian (Craney) is here now and he has added to his goal tally. We have threats on goal from all over and now we are striving for some consistency so we can push on."
The Reds are currently in mid-table and are seven points off a play-off spot.
"It is still tight at the top although it is pretty close behind us too but this season, I think we are definitely looking upwards and not over our shoulder," said Mullin after last season’s relegation battle.
"We have two tough games now at Stockport tomorrow and Peterborough on Tuesday but, at the moment, I feel more confident going away and we will be trying to get two decent results.
"I look at the teams above us, and we have played most of them now, and we can beat any of them on our day. We have just got to make sure we put a run together and start getting the results at home."
* THE REDS’ reserves are in action against Morecambe next Wednesday (16 Jan) at the FES, ko 7pm.