SALISBURY have confirmed the return of promotion-winning skipper Brian Dutton as first team manager at the Ray Mac.

Dutton, who has represented both incarnations of Salisbury, was most recently academy manager at Bristol Rovers.

The Southern League Premier South club announced the departure of long serving manager Steve Claridge on Thursday, citing early exits in the FA Trophy and FA Cup as contributing factors to the decision to part ways with their former boss.

Former Walsall interim boss Dutton revealed he had turned down opportunities in the professional game in order to wait for an opening at Salisbury.

He shared: “Those who know me are aware I come from Yorkshire, but Wiltshire and Salisbury are my adopted home; a place where I’ve known the friendliest people and truly felt their warmth.

“My partner, Abi, gave birth to our first child in Salisbury just over 14 months ago and I will be especially proud to bring him to the Ray Mac to witness his local team the mighty Whites in action with me as first team manager.

“Since finishing my playing career, I have gained a lot of coaching experience high up the pyramid working in roles such as assistant manager for both League One and (League) Two clubs.

“Going forward, this experience will serve me and Salisbury FC well.

“Since my last role as first team manager at Walsall FC, I have turned down several opportunities to return to football management at high levels, but I have turned them down in the hope that one day the Salisbury job would become available and when it did, I jumped at the opportunity."

Chairman Ian Hammond added: “In welcoming Brian to Salisbury FC, it would be wrong of me to not firstly record a huge vote of thanks to Steve for all his work for the club since its inception seven years ago, with two promotions and a current league position on the edge of the play-off places. He will be a hard act to follow but I am sure that Brian will be fully up to the challenges that lie ahead.

“In our discussions, he has impressed not only with his football knowledge and experience, but also his enthusiasm and drive to develop the Whites into a football club of which the city, the players and coaches, and most definitely the supporters can be proud.

“I look forward to working with him and am positive his plans for the future will be welcomed by all.”