James McGarry believes he is starting to feel more at home in his second stint with the Wellington Phoenix.
The left back was given a taste of A-League action after arriving at the club in 2015, playing two games, before departing in 2018 to join Willem II in the Netherlands.
After two seasons with the Dutch club, McGarry announced he was returning to the Phoenix and it has already proved a fruitful decision. He has started in both games this season, with highlights including setting up David Ball's goal against Macarthur FC on Saturday.
The 22-year-old is relishing the chance to play for the Wollongong-based side.
"It kind of feels like a fresh start. I've come in and I'm in the starting line-up now. I'm playing confidently and feeling good," McGarry said.
"Obviously it's going to take me a little time to get comfortable [on the field] as the games come along. But after these first two games, I'm already feeling more comfortable going forward."
The Phoenix showed promising signs in their opening clash in Wollongong, but two superb goals proved the difference as Sydney FC prevailed 2-1.
Wellington then jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Bulls in Campbelltown before controversial red card to Alex Rufer in the 60th minute changed the game's momentum. In the end, the Phoenix held on for a 1-1 draw.
In their both of their two A-League games, the likes of Ball, Tomed Hemed and Ulises Davila have looked dangerous up front.
However, McGarry believes he can also add another dynamic to their attack, especially when linking on the left edge of the field with midfielder Clayton Lewis.
"I played with Clayton in the under-23s. It's easy to play with Clayton, he's a quality player as you would have seen in [Saturday's] game. That's what we're capable of doing and we hope to do that more in the next few games which will be better for us," McGarry said.
"Obviously against Sydney, I didn't get many chances to go forward with the way they set up. But we saw an opportunity in this [Macarthur FC] game. I thought there was a lot of space out wide so, for the first 60 minutes, I tried to utilise it as much as possible. And we got some decent chances I thought. We were probably unfortunate to maybe not get a few more goals.
"But I want to get more assists. Every game I want to get up the field and put in balls for the strikers to finish off."
Wellington will now have a lengthy break before returning to WIN Stadium to face Newcastle on January 24.
McGarry is no stranger to Wollongong, having arrived in early November with the majority of Phoenix's squad for a pre-season camp.
Three weeks later, it was confirmed that Wellington would play all home games at WIN Stadium this season due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19.
"I'm settling in well [to Wollongong]," McGarry said.
"I've got my partner here now, she came over a couple of weeks ago. We're enjoying our time here. Wollongong is a nice place, a nice city. It's not too dissimilar to being back home."