NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: The potential to turn a promotion dream into reality persuaded Brett Whaley to become March Town manager again

Brett Whaley during his second spell as March Town manager.

Brett Whaley during his second spell as March Town manager. - Credit: Archant

Brett Whaley is back at March Town – with a long-term goal of winning promotion.

Whaley has taken over as Hares boss for the third time, replacing Mel Mattless in the hotseat. He first managed March between 2007 and 2009 before returning for another spell from 2011 to 2012.

March finished fourth in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division during his second stint in charge and Whaley believes that provides all the necessary evidence that the club can kick on after a number of seasons in the bottom half of the standings.

Whaley, who has watched the 16th-placed Hares’ last three home games, said: “I was made aware two or three weeks ago that Mel was not planning to stay on beyond the end of the season.

“I had an initial informal chat with Phil (chairman, White) before meeting the whole board. Once we agreed on everything, it was a case of deciding when I would come in.

“It was the sooner, the better as far as I’m concerned and the next two months are all about giving ourselves a headstart for next season.

“All the current players will have plenty of opportunities to impress, but we may add a couple of new faces simply because we are a bit short on numbers.

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“I want to get to know the lads and start to build a squad which will hopefully make things easier for us in the summer.

“We can’t compete financially with other clubs currently, so we have to rely on creating an environment that allows players to enjoy their football.

“But I feel we can take the club forward and that March could sustain Step 5 football in the future.

“A lot of work needs to be done on and off the pitch to get into the position where we can think about promotion, but the potential is definitely there.”

Whaley, who also had a spell managing Wisbech Town, has been out of the game since resigning as boss of United Counties League Premier Division club Yaxley in early November. He guided them to League Cup glory last season.

But that three-month absence has given him chance to reflect on his managerial strengths - something he feels can put into practice at March.

Whaley added: “I haven’t enjoyed football as much in the last two or three years as I did in the past.

“I’ve struggled a bit at both Yaxley and Wisbech with bigger budgets where the expectations and pressure are higher.

“It has been a case of having to look at myself as a manager and realise where my strengths are. I feel they are in identifying young players with potential and then working on the training pitch to improve them - and that’s something I’ll have ample opportunity to do at March.

“I feel refreshed after a few months out of the game and I’m looking forward to being back.”

Whaley’s first game back in charge is tomorrow when the Hares entertain table-toppers Woodbridge in the First Division.

Roy Brand, who has served as assistant to Mattless, is staying on board.

Long-serving former March player Marc Welcher will also figure in Whaley’s management team.