Phil Parkinson has significantly strengthened his Altrincham squad for another promotion push next season after capturing midfield powerhouse Conor Branson from Bradford (Park Avenue).

The Alty boss won a three-way battle for 27-year old Pontefract-born Branson and signed him for an undisclosed fee in time for the start of the Robins’ pre-season build-up early next month.

It is understood two other clubs – one in the National League North, the other in the National League top tier – were vying for Branson’s signature, but the free-flowing football favoured by Parkinson proved decisive in winning the day for Alty.

Branson’s arrival, following an impressive return of 12 goals from a deep-lying role last season, should go at least some way towards offsetting the major blow of losing crowd favourite James Poole, who is heading to Australia to take up a Melbourne-based coaching opportunity with Manchester City.

“Stockport won the title and Chorley went up via the play-offs, but, for me, Alty were the best footballing side in the league last season,” said Branson, who lives in Wakefield and works in Leeds for a sports technology company.

“It was really flattering that there was so much interest from other clubs, and a fee was involved, but after speaking to Phil and reflecting on Alty’s style of play, it just seemed the right fit for me.”

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