WORCESTER City have landed another home-grown ace with the signing of midfielder Nathan Hayward.
The Worcester-based 25-year-old who was playing for Malvern Town last season began his career as a trainee at Birmingham City.
He has also played for Kidderminster Harriers, Redditch United, Stourbridge, Westfields and Stourport.
Last term, Hayward scored five goals in 35 appearances for Malvern who play in West Midlands League Premier Division.
He has become joint managers John Snape’s and Lee Hughes’ third signing ahead of the 2017/18 Midland League Premier Division campaign. They have also captured Worcester footballer Brad Birch and ex-Birmingham City player Matt Birley.
"I spoke to Snapper and Lee in regards to joining my hometown club and jumped at the opportunity when it was given to me,” Hayward said.
Snape and Hughes believe they have signed a player with "a good pedigree and a player who will give his all from the first until the last minute.”
Hayward’s departure is another blow to Malvern after midfielder Reece King agreed to leave the HDanywhere Community Stadium for National League South outfit Gloucester City.
Town manager Les Jones said: “I am really pleased for Nathan, but he was the type of player who was always going to move on.
“Nathan was a key player for us and having lost Reece as well the midfield area is somewhere we need to look at and get a couple of players in.”
Malvern finished fourth in West Midlands League Premier Division and have ambitious to push for promotion next season.
But Jones admitted they faced an extra challenge to bolster their squad with City now “in the mix” for their targets after dropping three divisions.
“When they were four leagues above us they weren’t really interested in local players,” Jones said.
“But now they are a level above us they are looking to get some local players in.
“Obviously the players we will be looking to get will be the same sorts of players they will be looking at.
“I don’t know what sort of squad they are going to get together, but with their crowds they should have enough financial muscle to be one of the top sides in their league.
“We are looking to improve, so we will be competing with an extra team to get the players we want in.”