Toby Lees has revealed the huge role Michael Nelson played in his decision to join Blyth Spartans after working with him at Gateshead.
Central defender Lees, who has previously appeared for Harrogate Town, Boston United and Whitby Town, is Nelson’s 17th signing of a busy summer.
During the 2019/20 National League North campaign, Lees was coached and played alongside Nelson, where he played 22 times and scored two goals.
“He was a big factor in my decision to join Blyth,” 24-year-old Lees admitted.
“I’ve been speaking to Nelse quite often. We’ve always kept in contact after we worked together at Gateshead.
“I know what he is about, what he wants and what he expects.
“I’ve been really impressed with the players that have been recruited – the squad has been put together extremely well this year.
“We’re looking to compete as high up the table as possible, so joining Blyth is a really positive move for me and one I’m really excited about.”
Yorkshire-born Lees is already very familiar with Blyth, as he targets a consistent run in Nelson’s starting XI – and a potential cup run.
He said: “Having played at Gateshead, I know a lot about the derbies the two clubs have.
“I know a few lads at the club already and they’ve said nothing but good things to say about Blyth.
“Blyth are obviously well known for their FA Cup exploits.
“I think cup runs in general are important. It helps break the league up a little bit and gives you something else to think about.
“First and foremost, I’m there to defend and stop goals going in, so I’d like to think I’ll contribute towards that.
“I want to get stuck in, make blocks and make tackles, be strong in the air and win my headers.
“But as a central defender now, it’s becoming a lot more important to be good on the ball and I believe that is a strong asset to my game.
“The team’s aim is to finish as high up the table as possible. With this squad, there’s no reason why we can’t do that.”