Having played a crucial role in helping guide Malvern Town to their second-best league finish in their history, assistant manager Stephen Cleal has agreed to another year at the HDAnywhere Community Stadium.

Cleal, who arrived at the club back in January, was only contracted until this summer on a short-term deal but will now help spearhead another promotion charge next season alongside boss Lee Hooper.

"I am delighted to be committing my immediate future to The Hillsiders," he said.

"It was an easy decision as the few months I've been at the club, I have really enjoyed it.

"Everyone has made me welcome, from the fans to the directors and the staff, and I have built a good rapport with them all.

"I have also found working with Hoops (Lee Hooper), G (Georgina Harris, therapist), Nic (Butler, coach) and the players really enjoyable and feel we have started a journey that is definitely an exciting one."

Malvern finished third in the Hellenic League Premier in what was their first season back at Step 5 in over a decade and only narrowly missed out on potential promotion.

A dip in form post-Christmas killed those hopes of a top two finish but a fine end to the 2021/22 campaign gives Malvern momentum and Cleal is confident next season will see them challenge again.

"The biggest thing for me was to sit down with the powers that be and really see if their vision and ambition for the club matched my own desire to return to Step 4," he added.

"And I was really pleased with how the conversation went and that was the final tick in the box for me.

"I wanted to get this sorted early.

"We've got a Cup Final to look forward to but I have already started planning ahead to next season and building on what we have here to make us even more competitive in what is going to be another tough campaign."

And as much as Cleal is happy to confirm his future at the club, main man Hooper is just as delighted to secure his services for another season.

"Having Stephen on board for the last few months has been great and he has added a lot to us," said Hooper.

"It was a big void in the management team that needed to be filled. He has added a lot more structure to us defensively and we are still scoring goals, so we seem to have got the balance right.

"The run of results that we had over the final months of the season shows that and to have Stephen as part of the management team for next year puts us in a strong position on and off-the-pitch.

"We have already spoken in-depth about what we need for next season and how we want to strengthen both within the playing squad and staff.

"We’ve got Therapist, Georgina Harris, and Nic Butler also confirmed for next season and we will be looking to add another coach and an analyst, so we have a really solid base from which to build."