New Sleaford Town boss Tom Ward on his first signings, his vision for the club and the importance of keeping local talent at Eslaforde Park

Manager is a third-generation Greens gaffer...

Tom Ward.

New Sleaford Town boss Tom Ward wants to create a club for the area to be proud of.

The former Greens defender has the club at heart, with his brother Charlie currently on the books and dad Paul and granddad Brian Rowland both former players and managers at Eslaforde Park.

And Ward, who is entering first team management for the first time in his career after leaving Tamworth, is keen to transfer that passion throughout the squad and wider area.

“My aim this season is to bring back that local talent that is available round Sleaford,” he said.

“There is some serious football talent in Sleaford that drift to clubs around us like Boston and Stamford.

“If we got them all together we would have a serious team.

“A lot of them are similar ages now where they are good in their work environment and earning decent money outside football, so a few quid on a Saturday and playing closer to home would be a bonus.”

But the club’s plan extends to all off-field area’s as well with the Boston Road club keen to put themselves at the heart of the community.

“We are trying to encourage a real family environment around the club” he said.

“We have lads coming in with young children and partners, who will be involved on a match day.

“We are creating a real family vibe around the club and with the fans so more and more people want to come and watch.

“We are going to do things right and we hope it brings a long term benefit.

“We want pride in the team and the town, it’s about being local and representing Sleaford.

“When I grew up watching Sleaford I always looked forward to watching the team with my dad.”

So far things have gone well with Ward pulling off a major coup by bringing in Mitch Griffits from step three Peterborough Sports.

“Mitch Griffiths could earn three times his wage elsewhere if he wanted,” added Ward. “He turned down crazy money to come and join us.

“He’s a massive asset, not just as a player but as a person, He’s probably the best right-back at step three so it’s a huge achievement we have got him.

“He attracts other players because he is a big name in Lincolnshire sport. You can see him in training offering advice, encouragement and all the sort of stuff you want from a top player.”

The Greens have also announced the signing of central defender Kyle Watkins and striker Mickey Stones.

Sleaford-based Watkins, a former Lincoln City youngster, has been skipper of UCL Premier North rivals Boston Town while Stones - has returned to Eslaforde Park following a 12-year hiatus.

During that period he has featured for Boston United, alongside Ward, Boston Town and also been player-manager at Horncastle Town.

Meanwhile, Allan Ross has returned to the club as Ward's number two.

Ross - who was joint manager alongside Stones at The Wong last season - was previously Sleaford's number two under ex-boss Glen Maddison.