MALVERN Town have appointed Stephen Cleal as their new assistant manager after Phil Preedy has decided to step down.

The experienced Cleal started the current campaign as manager of Cinderford Town in the Southern League Division One South having previously spent six years at the helm of Bishop’s Cleeve.

"It’s great to have ‘Sooty’ come on board," said manager Lee Hooper.

"It’s a real statement and he will be a great addition to the club. After speaking with him over the last couple of weeks, it’s obvious that we will work well together.

"His philosophy and morals in football are similar to mine; he has a lot of experience and respect at this level and also at Step 4.

"His experience and know-how will be very much welcomed in the dressing room moving forward. I look forward to working alongside him and learning from him and can’t wait to get him involved at Tuesday’s game against Longlevens."

Cleal added: "Having been a manager for over 14 years, I knew it wouldn’t be too long before I wanted to get back into football.

"Having met up with Hoops and discussed the plans and vision of the club, and also having seen Malvern play a few times, it just felt a good opportunity to return to football.

"I’d like to think that having managed 400 plus League and Cup games at senior level with the majority of those at Step 4, I have a lot of knowledge and experience to bring to the football club.

The challenge ahead is both internal and external – there are some very good sides at this level and Malvern are one of them, but to go to the next level we need to push ourselves and each other to add to what is a fantastic base.

"That’s what excited me most about the opportunity to work with Hoops and these players."