NATHAN Leonard has taken the helm at Huws Gray Alliance side Guilsfield.

The long serving 31 year old midfielder makes the step up having assisted Danny Barton for the past two seasons with Bernie Jones taking on his former role.

Barton steps down due to work commitments but backed his successor to build on the giant strides made at Clos Mytton over the past decade.

Leonard represented Ellesmere Rangers and Morda United before joining the Guils in 2012 and has been an ever present since.

Leonard said: “I am grateful to the club for this opportunity but I wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for Danny Barton who got me in as assistant manager and has looked after me for about the last 10 years in football. 

“He's been a huge help, pre season all organised and new players identified to strengthen us a lot down to him.”

Leonard has targeted an improvement on the past campaign which saw the Guils struggle with consistency while also failing to impress in any local cup.

Leonard said: “I want to improve on last seasons league position as we let ourselves down in the second half of season. Cup runs are a must for next season.

“I want to prove to people I'm more than capable to succeed in the job but more importantly to get the best out of the players in every single game.”

Barton insisted he would stay involved with the Guils but with increasing work demands he had felt the time had come to pass the baton on to Leonard.

“I have reluctantly stepped down due to increasing work load since I started my business,” said Barton. “I didn't feel I was giving it my total commitment so knew it was time to step down. Work, family and business was beginning to suffer so I knew timing was right.

“I brought Nathan Leonard in two years ago as a continuity plan.

“He's a great coach and incredibly keen to do well which I’m 100 per cent convinced he will. I will still be involved with the club and help Nathan and the club where they need me to and wish them all the best for the next season.”