Darren Patterson admits he feels very lucky to have signed midfielder Jamie Hand.

He captured the former Watford player, who had a 12-game loan spell with the U's back in 2004, on an emergency loan from Lincoln until the end of the season.

And Hand looks set to go straight into the team alongside Adam Murray to face Forest Green on Saturday.

"I feel very fortunate to have got him, because he's played in three of Lincoln's last five games, which they've won," said U's manager Patterson.

"He's someone I've been trying to get for a long time.

"I thought I'd got him about six weeks ago, but it didn't happen, and then he got back into the team at Lincoln and started doing very well. So I'm surprised, but delighted, that they've agreed to let him go.

"He was desperate to come here, and that's important to me."

Hand is well known to United fans as one of the few shining lights at a difficult time under Graham Rix in 2004-5.

When the U's crashed 6-1 at Yeovil, who went on to win promotion that season, Hand scored the goal that afternoon, and he also netted when United drew 2-2 after extra time against Exeter City in the Football League Trophy, before going out on penalties.

But it was for his quality of passing that Hand is best remembered, and on Tuesday night in the 2-0 friendly win at Witney United, he again showed he had an eye for a pass.

"He created the first goal and even though they'd not played together before, you could see him and Adam Murray gelling," Patterson added.

"He's got a nasty side to him, but not in a bad way if you know what I mean . . . he's a winner, he's vocal and he's a very good player."

Hand is the fifth loan signing Patterson has made, but although he cannot sign another, or at least cannot have more than five on the teamsheet, that isn't necessarily the end of the incoming transfers.

"I'm not finished yet," Patterson said. "I maybe can't sign another player on loan, but there are other options open to me. I can sign players who are out of work, and I can sign scholars. I can also sign players from leagues below ours if they are not under contract.

"But it's important that we wait for the right one, as I have done with Jamie."

One player missing from the game at Witney was striker Matt Green. The on-loan Cardiff City player has not trained since the 1-0 win over Droylsden, when he looked well below his best, and below what he'd shown against Histon the week before.

But he was back in training yesterday and will be available for Saturday's game at Forest Green.

Patterson said: "Matt had a long-standing injury that we weren't aware of, but it's not serious. It's very fixable and just needs careful manage- ment.

"We had him see a specialist because there was a noticeable difference in his performance between Histon and Droylsden, and he sussed what it was.

"It's not going to be a problem, but we'll probably see Matt doing work in the gym in the early part of the week and then training with us on the Thursday and Friday.

"He's come on leaps and bounds since ten days ago, and he'll be ready for Sat- urday."

Patterson thanked Witney United for the midweek friendly, which proved a great work-out.

"We're at the stage where we just want games and I'd like to thank Witney," he said.

"The pitch wasn't fantastic, but Saturday's might be similar, so it could be good practice.

"We're just trying to get a bit of consistency and momentum."