Fort William chairman John Trew believes new manager Shadab Iftikhar is the man to keep Fort William in the Breedon Highland League.
The Englishman has been announced as the Lochaber outfit’s new boss and has agreed a contract until the end of the season with the option to extend his deal for a further year.
Iftikhar has worked for Roberto Martinez at Wigan Athletic, Everton and Belgium scouting their opposition.
He has also managed West Lancashire League side Hesketh Bank, Mongolian outfit New Mongol Bayangol and the Mongolian national team.
Iftikhar succeeds Ashley Hollyer, who left Fort William in September, but will officially take charge on December 27 when they face Forres Mechanics.
Caretaker manager Tommylee Taylor will still at the helm for upcoming league fixtures against Keith, Fraserburgh and Formartine United before becoming Iftikhar’s assistant manager
Fort have only picked up one point thus far this season and are eight points adrift at the foot of the Highland League.
For the first time the team which finishes bottom will have to compete in a relegation play-off to retain their place in the division.
Speaking following Iftikhar’s appointment, chairman Trew said: “The mission this season is to stay up, the job is purely about survival.
“If that can be achieved we’ll take things from there, this is the first of a few announcements.
“Shadab’s CV speaks for itself. It’s pretty self-explanatory when you read about his history.
“He has been around the circuit and he’s looking for a start.
“When you think about our league we’re only one tier away from League Two so it’s a good way for him to get into top level management.
“But first of all he’s got to come to us to get up there to those levels.
“I think he’s definitely someone who can step up the levels, but hopefully he’ll take Fort William there.
“There’s more announcements to come in the next few weeks as well.”
Board will back their man
Trew says Iftikhar will have the support of the board if he wishes to make changes to Fort William’s squad.
However, he stressed that Fort’s budget is limited, particularly as they have been made to play all their fixtures away from home because Claggan Park wasn’t ready at the start of the season.
Trew added: “He’ll get all he can from the board, but our overheads are more than other clubs so our budget won’t be as big.
“He knows that and he still feels he can do a job.”