Barnstaple Town are forming a new reserve side as it looks to strengthen its foundations.

The new side is set to join the North Devon Football League, will play their games at Mill Road, and will be managed by Mark Tucker and Ross Middleton.

The club’s intention is to build a stronger base in North Devon which will see them recruit more local talent and provide a pathway for players to progress to the first team football in the Southern League.

Tucker and Middleton join the club from Ilfracombe Town, where they were managing their reserve side in the North Devon Premier.

Tucker will also take up a commercial role with the club, while Middleton – who also heads up youth football initiative The Goal Getters – will becomes the club’s community officer.

Middleton said: “I’m really excited about the opportunity to become more involved with things at Barnstaple Town football club, I’ve been playing for the club on and off for many years and think I made my debut for the first team about 20yrs ago!

“Off the field in the last year I have been out visiting local schools with my business The Goal Getters providing football fun days for children on behalf of the club, we’ve also been engaging them with match day experiences and mascots for a day during Southern League matches here at Mill Road. It’s really great to be able to expand on the community work by joining a new venture of being the joint manager of the new reserves team.

“Mark and I enjoyed it at Ilfracombe Town and were having a successful season as joint managers before the football season came to an abrupt end because of Covid-19.

“I hope when this is over and everyone’s safe we can transfer some of that success over to Barnstaple Town Football Club and I can’t wait to get started.”

Tucker added: “I see no reason why there can’t be a successful first team, reserve team, U18’s and youth teams, with the size of the town that should be the aim. This in turn should bring about a feel good factor back into the club and if I can be a part of that all the better.

“It all happened pretty quickly, I’ve known [Barnstaple vice-chairman] Kevin Darch for a number of years and when he called me last week to see if I would be interested I agonised over it initially because I don’t like letting people down, but opportunities like this don’t come up too often I knew there was no way I could turn this down.

“I’m also delighted that Ross decided to join me at the club, as a team we work well together and this was also another deciding factor in my decision.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the board at Barnstaple Town Football Club for giving me this chance and fingers crossed I can do a good job and bring success back to the club.”

“I look forward to seeing many new faces at Mill Road when the season gets underway after the unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19, Football will return but until then stay safe and I’ll see you all soon.”