ANDY Welsh wants to build a squad of players that reflect the town and can relate to the supporters.

And Bury AFC’s first ever manager says enjoyment will be key as the phoenix club prepares for life in the North West Counties League.

Welsh was appointed the Shakers boss last week and was quick to point out that whatever happens in the coming season, it will be a team effort both on and off the pitch.

But he knows those who pull on the shirt will have to represent the club in the correct manner.

“I always think that if you look at the fans who support a football club, the players that walk out on to the pitch have to almost mirror those who are watching them in the stands,” Welsh told the club website.

“So certainly this town is a hard working town, it has been brought up on hard work, desire, attitude, application to whatever you are doing in life.

“Whether it was here or where ever, that is what I will demand as a minimum out of a player. So in terms of players coming in, we want them to come in and represent the club to the best of their ability.”

Welsh, who played for Sunderland in the Premier League and Toronto FC in the MLS, hasn’t set targets in the club’s debut season but insists he wants everyone to enjoy themselves.

“First season, there is no doubt about it, we are up against it straight away because we have a short period of time to build a squad,” added Welsh who was also manager of the newly-formed Ossett United back in 2018.

“My point of view, enjoyment is a key factor for myself, for the players, for the fans. This has to be a positive season in terms of where this club needs to go.

“And I am sure that if we use that word positive enough times it will be very positive. But in terms of mentality, that is going to be a huge, huge part of what we are going to do.”

Welsh, capped at Under-19s level by Scotland, is now excited to get going and make history with the club.

“Speaking to board members and Chris (Murray) the chairman and just knowing where the club wants to go is a real attraction,” he added.

“I’ve always been someone, even in my playing career, to want to be part of a club that has really strong ambitions. This project is a fantastic project and certainly one I can’t wait to get my teeth in to.

“When you get the opportunity to be the manager of a football club, whether it is at the level that we are starting at or at league level you should always respect the club first and foremost but always be delighted to be the focal point and taking that club forward.”

He added: “ I know the excitement will build towards the start of the season with the fans and everything surrounding our first ever season.

“I have been in this situation before and I am looking forward to making history with this football club.”

The 36-year-old started his career at Stockport County and also had spells at Leicester City, Yeovil Town and Blackpool while playing non league football at FC United, Farsley Celtic and Ossett Albion.

That experience is something he thinks will serve him well.

“I have always been a very, very hard working person somebody who loves a challenge, somebody who prides themselves on being the best I can possible be and utilising the best attributes I have,” he said. “It has been a fantastic journey playing wise and certainly from a management and coaching point of view, the last three years have been amazing as well.

“I have had some real, real highs and to begin a brand new project with a budding new club is very exciting.”

One of Welsh’s main priorities will be to put together a squad where no player feels their place is safe and secure.

“It has to be,” he said. “Any squad I have been a part of that has been successful, you are looking around and there are at least one or two players who can play in your position.

“If you start thinking ‘my place is safe here’ that is when the hand break goes on and you are not going to get the best out of players.

“Certainly in training, in games, you need that level of competition to get the best out of everyone.”

And while he is calling for patience from fans, he wants them to enjoy the journey.

“Everyone is excited, once everything gets ratified, games things like that. I think that is when when it starts getting exciting and we can start pushing things forward.

“Patience is going to be key at times because we are all getting used to new surroundings, to each other.

“But let’s make sure we enjoy the journey and I think even as a player or a manager or as a football club, your aren’t going to be judged on the good days, you are going to be judged on the bad days and how you react.”