Shadab Iftikhar will call on the advice of Roberto Martinez as he bids to turn Fort William into a winning team.
The 31-year-old has been appointed manager of the Lochaber club on a deal until the end of the season.
He will take over later this month with his first match in charge against Forres Mechanics on December 27.
Iftikhar joins Fort having worked with Martinez at Wigan Athletic, Everton and the Belgium national team in scouting and analysis roles.
The Englishman – who has also managed Lancashire side Hesketh Bank, Mongolian outfit New Mongol Bayangol and the Mongolian national team – spoke to the Spaniard yesterday for advice and plans to continue calling on him as and when required.
Iftikhar said: “I did my coaching badges at a young age and passed my A Licence at 22 which was a big achievement for myself.
“Then I was lucky enough to meet Roberto Martinez who has helped me every step of the way.
“I spoke to him (on Tuesday) and he was giving me some advice about the job.
“He’s a great guy who has helped me in my career and I’ve been very fortunate to meet people like Roberto.
“It’s the same with his staff – Shaun Maloney is an unbelievable fella and one of the nicest guys in football and Jesus Seba is another top person.
“Roberto was asking questions about my ideas and things I want to implement – it felt like an interview.
“His knowledge of Fort William was phenomenal, he knew everything about the club, the ins and outs and why it was a good project.
“Roberto gave me his blessing and throughout the season I’ll be in touch with him if need be.
“He was telling me things that I need to work on, but also telling me my strengths.
“He’s a brilliant guy and when you finish a conversation you feel you’re maybe not at his level.
“But you also realise you’ve learned so much from a conversation with him.
“Whether you get five minutes or half an hour the conversations are priceless.
“He’s always been a great person to speak to and he’s the smartest man I’ve met.”
‘A very good standard of football’
Caretaker Tommylee Taylor will remain in charge for the next three Breedon Highland League fixtures against Keith, Fraserburgh and Formartine United before becoming Iftikhar’s assistant.
Fort are eight points adrift at the foot of the Highland League table, with the side that finishes bottom this season having to compete in a relegation play-off for the right to stay in the division.
Iftikhar, who is going to move from Preston to Fort William, added: “I’ll take it one day at a time, I try to go to bed every day knowing that I’ve done everything I can to make the team better.
“I’ll work very hard on a daily basis, will continue to try to improve at training and prepare for each match individually.
“You have to take it one day at a time and get as much as possible out of that day.
“I’ve done a bit of research on the club and have seen what’s happened in the past.
“But I’m looking towards the future not the past, I’ve been to Fort William a couple of times and it’s a great town.
“In terms of the league I’m doing a lot of research, I’ve seen a couple of games and it’s very competitive and a very good standard of football.”
New boss keen to improve squad
At this stage Iftikhar isn’t planning sweeping changes at Claggan Park and is keen to work with the squad already assembled.
He said: “It’s important to work with the players at the club. I know there is the ability there to win games.
“January is a very difficult month no matter who you are to add players so it’s about working with the players at the club and trying to improve and develop them into a winning team.”
- Meanwhile, tonight Fort William will return to action at Claggan Park when they face local amateur side South Lochaber Thistle in a friendly.