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Departing Fort William boss Shadab Iftikhar grateful for Highland League experience

Shadab Iftikhar has left Fort William.
Shadab Iftikhar has left Fort William.

Shadab Iftikhar says he will look back on his time in the Breedon Highland League with fondness.

After five months in charge of Fort William, the Englishman has decided to move on and pursue an opportunity overseas.

Although Iftikhar remained tight-lipped about what the future holds, he thoroughly enjoyed his time in Lochaber.

He said: “I loved my time in the Highland League, I met some great people and came up against some great teams and great managers which challenged me a lot.

“My time in the Highland League will always be something I’ll look at as a great experience.

“Fort William was a great club for me, they gave me so much. I’ve got a lot of respect for the players, the board and the fans.

“I took the job in difficult circumstances and the support I got from above was amazing.

“It’s a shame I couldn’t combine two roles going forward so I could continue.

“It was a tough decision for me because I loved every minute of it and enjoyed my time so much.

“Even though we were going through a tough time, I enjoyed every minute of it and I was treated so well by the club and the fans. It’s just a shame that we couldn’t have got more good results.

“It was a decision I had to make with my head, rather than my heart.”

Play-off disappointment

Iftikhar took charge of Fort in December and was tasked with leading them off the bottom of table.

However, they finished 11 points adrift after picking up one win and four draws over the course of the campaign.

And their season ended in bizarre circumstances last month when they withdrew from the relegation play-off against Banks o’ Dee.

As a result, Fort William have been relegated, pending an appeal they have submitted to the Scottish FA.

Iftikhar added: “It was disappointing not to play the play-off – I’d put in 22 or 23 hours studying Banks o’ Dee.

“I knew about them: their right side being more potent than their left, (and) they attack the box in a unique way.

“We’d done a lot of work and we knew we had to defend our box really well. We knew they were a team that would come on to us, but we felt we could find space on the counter.

“We knew they were very good at set-plays, which was something we’d struggled with and we’d worked on that as well.

“We had a plan to try to combat Banks o’ Dee, so not to play was very disappointing for us.”

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