Larkhall Athletic chairman Paul Rankin is backing new dynamic duo of Geraint Bater and his number two Neil Arndale to build on the success of their old boss Wayne Thorne in the Evo-Stik League Southern.

Rankin appointed the catertakers on a permanent basis ahead of the club’s defeat at larkhallTaunton Town in the FA Trophy’s preliminary round on Saturday after they guided the Larks to a penalty shoot-out win over Frome Town on Wednesday night in the first round of the Southern League Challenge Cup at their Plain Ham home.

Thorne spent seven successful years at the helm and Rankin believes Bater and Arndale are perfectly equipped to build on the foundations he’s laid at the Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South & West’s Larks.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted that Geraint and Neil will take the club on the next stage of its journey. Geraint and Neil bring a vast amount of experience to the role and importantly the backing of the changing room.

“They both understand the values of the club and will endeavour to build on the legacy to ensure we are one club all pulling in the same direction.”

He added: “We are confident that we have made the right appointment despite having interest from others. Through all our conversations with Geraint and Neil we were impressed with the vision and determination they have to succeed.”

Thorne resigned on Monday after guiding his side to a 2-0 league victory over Slimbridge last weekend. Appointed at Plain Ham in late 2010 after originally arriving as assistant manager, he went on to be named Western League Manager of the Year in 2014 after steering the Larks to an unprecedented league and cup double and promotion to the EVO-STIK League Southern.

As well as guiding the Larks to the play-off final and the brink of a second successive promotion in their first season after stepping up, Thorne also led them to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup on two occasions – a new club best – and the fifth round of the FA Vase twice.


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