POSTMASTER Dave Bradford believes Great Harwood Town can stamp their authority on the North West Counties League First Division next season.
The former Blackburn Rovers midfielder has taken over the reins from John Hughes, who left to join Chorley after clinching promotion from Division Two with the Robbins.
Bradford, 51, who runs a post office in Blackburn with his wife Elaine, has been keeping tabs on Harwood for several years.
He said: "I used to go to watch them play and know some of their lads so I am delighted about getting the job. I tried for it a couple of years ago before John Hughes got it. He is going to be a hard act to follow but there is no reason why we can't give it a go."
Bradford is set to return to the dug-out after a year-long absence from the game following a three-year spell as manager at West Lancashire League outfit BAE Canberra.
He has plenty of experience as a player under his belt on both sides of the Atlantic. During the 60s and 70s he notched up 64 appearances for Rovers after being hailed by then manager Ken Furphy as a superkid.
He later played for Sheffield United, WBA and Coventry before emigrating to America for seven years to ply his trade with the Detroit Express, Washington Diplomats and Tulsa Roughnecks.
He returned to England after the league folded and took over the Brownhill Post Office 19 years ago. He now plans to divide his time between running the post office and the club.
Harwood chairman Bill Holden said he was pleased to have finally got his man. He said: "We are disappointed to lose John but it's no good looking back, we must look forward now. What we really need is continuity."
He revealed assistant manager Dave Sharples will stay on at the club. "He was very instrumental in the success we had with John Hughes," added the chairman.
While he expects some players to join Hughes at Chorley, he is sure the new manager can bring in players to fill their boots. He said: "We don't have a great deal of money to splash out but we are exploring a number of avenues to have a good season. If we can finish in the top six I will be very happy."
Harwood are set to start their pre-season training at the Showground tomorrow afternoon.