NATHAN Bartram has spoken of his pride after completing his return to Llanymynech.

Bartram has been appointed manager of the Montgomeryshire League club having returned to his home village club after several years refereeing.

He said: "I'm incredibly grateful to the club's hierarchy for giving me the opportunity.

"I didn't foresee this at all 12 months ago but of course so much has changed since then, and there isn't another job I would have come back into coaching for.

"The club was in need of someone to continue the stability that we have already but need more than ever in this period of time and my personal connection to the club makes me understand the responsibility I've been given.

"While the club have shown great faith in me to do this I still have to justify my decision to take on this job to myself, and the only way to do that is to make it a success and for the long term."

Bartram highlighted the loyalty of players being key as the club looks to the future.

He said: "We have a unique strength within our own club and that is the loyalty of the players. I can count on my hands the players we have lost to other clubs in the 10 years since we reformed whereas other teams can lose as many as that in one summer.

"We have been training when allowed and have consistently had 16, 17 attending each session.

"We finally had our first friendly last weekend against Trefonen and this was the first time we could really test where we're at. Our fitness looked very impressive in a competitive game, and the work we have been doing on the training ground really showed particularly in the second half.

"I think more than anything the players really enjoyed being out there and also really enjoyed seeing their good work come to life on the pitch.

"We want to find a way to be successful and consistently competitive at this level specifically. Whatever level of sport you play at you want to be competitive, this is vital for the health of the club and the players' enthusiasm.

"That's the only way you keep numbers up and also attract new young players to keep the process going.

"My job is made so much easier by the fact we have a really mature group of players, who understand the current position and are remaining as committed to the club as always. It's been a real joint effort to look after the club and each other through this and I'm already very proud of them for that.

"Even without games training has been so enjoyable and I'm sure everyone's mental health has been helped with that. Off the pitch our committee have also been exceptional in providing us a safe environment to do what we love."

Bartram hoped the season would start in the new year but accepted the final decision rested with the Welsh Government.

He said: I'm incredibly excited to be back where I feel most at home, grateful to have been able to play what football we have and hopefully we can look forward to some competitive action soon but only when the powers that be decide that.

"We have to put full trust in their work and accept and adapt to whatever that leaves us with."