JAMES McFADDEN hopes he can fire Motherwell into Europe after clinching an emotional Fir Park return.

The striker has penned a short-term deal until the end of the season with his first club after being released by English Premiership side Sunderland.

McFadden made his bow on Tuesday night as Stuart McCall's side saw their ambitions of finishing best of the rest in the SPL suffer a setback with a 1-0 defeat to Dundee United.

The Steelmen are two points ahead of nearest challengers Inverness Caley Thistle heading into their clash with Ross County this weekend.

Victory in Dingwall would be the ideal way to bounce back from their midweek disappointment. And McFadden is confident he has what it takes to aid their Euro push as McCall's side seek a return to the big stage.

He said: "I think I've got better as a player.

"I've played in England for nearly 10 years and feel as though I'm a better player.

"I was a wee boy when I left Motherwell. I've come back as a married man with four kids.

"I played 200-odd games in the Premier League and I've learned a lot. I've got a lot more to give as well.

"It would be excellent if I could help the club qualify for Europe again.

"At the start of the season, I came to the European games and the atmosphere was brilliant.

"It would be great for the club and I think that's the aim.

"I don't know if people in here will say it, but everyone is aiming for second place.

"From the team in second just now to the team in second bottom, everyone's aiming for it. That's where we've got to be.

"The team have been doing really well. Big Higgy (Michael Higdon) has scored 18 goals, just over halfway through the season.

"So there are some good players here. They play well as a team. I'm looking forward to the challenge, to blending in and putting my stamp on the team as well."

The capture of McFadden is a major boost to Well's chances of finishing best of the rest this season, with the 29-year-old adding a touch of class to a forward line that has already impressed this season.

His Fir Park homecoming gives the former Everton star the ideal chance to prove his fitness and ability as he targets a return across the border in time for the new season.

McFadden was given a rousing reception as he made his second debut against United in midweek but the talismanic forward knows he will have to bide his time and work his way into a starting berth in the coming weeks.

He said: "Obviously I am pleased to be back. Hopefully, I can do well between now and the end of the season.

"I know I'm not just going to play because of who I am. But if I can do well then it's the same as at any club, there is going to be competition for places.

"The players obviously know that I'm here now and that's just part of football: if you play well you keep people out of a team, if you don't then it lets other people get a chance.

"Obviously I've not got a magic wand and I'm not going to be able to do everything myself.

"I'm not saying that everyone's expecting that anyway because the team's been doing really well and they are a great bunch of lads.

"They know what they're good at and they know what it takes to win games.

"But I want to add to that, I want to come in and play a part and make a wee bit of a difference in games when I'm needed to make a difference."