ILMINSTER Town Football Club has announced the appointment of Chris Hill as the new men's 1st XI manager, effective immediately.

Hill arrives with prior experience in the Somerset County League Premier Division, having managed Westfield and then taken on a role within Middlezoy Rovers' coaching set-up.

He began his coaching career as manager of New Foresters in the Bridgwater & District Sunday League, building a youthful squad and guiding them to promotion to the First Division, winning one of two cup finals and reaching the semi-finals of the Somerset FA County Cup - all in his first full season with them.

Hill also has coaching experience with North Petherton and with Gloucester City of National League North.

He was wanted by a number of County League clubs in Somerset and Devon, and so Ilminster are very pleased to have secured his services.

Hill is an FA Level 2 coach and currently working towards his Uefa B, aiming to complete it later this year, and this is something that the club is keen to help Chris with.

Ilminster hope this level of coaching experience will help to improve the existing squad and also the training standards throughout the men's side of the club.

During the interview process, Ilminster were particularly pleased with Hill’s attitude towards the development of young players, and feel he could really help bring through the high number of hot prospects currently at the club.

Hill said: “I would like to thank Dan [Haines, club chairman], Charlie [Rutter, who took over as caretaker manager last season] and the committee at Ilminster Town FC for this opportunity.

"I am eager to get started and begin to build something special here.

"The potential here is incredible and I believe the coaching team at this club will help us to realise this.

"The squad here is one full of quality and talent and the challenge is to get them heading in the right direction, but I have no doubt that we can expect great things here.

"It was always going to be a special project that would tempt me away from Middlezoy Rovers, and I would like to thank Craig Berry and Dan Wright at Middlezoy for their guidance and support over the last six months, and wish them well for the season ahead - just not when they play us of course!"

Hill will be introduced to the players and fellow coaches over the coming weeks, with Andy Whitefield - who played 205 times for the Blues before being forced to retire due to injury last season - announced as his assistant manager.

Ilminster's training sessions being run in accordance with the latest FA guidance, and therefore all existing and potential players should let the club know that they intend to attend training, to ensure adequate arrangements are made.

Rutter, having guided the Blues to a mid-table spot before the 2019/20 season was terminated, returns to the 1st XI squad as a player.

Ilminster join near neighbours and Premier Division rivals Chard Town in announcing a new 1st XI manager ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, with Ashley Fussell taking over at Zembard Lane.