NEW Buckland Athletic head coach Dan Hart says he can’t wait to get started after the club announced his appointment today.

Hart will see out the season at Peninsula Premier West side Launceston, where he has managed since October 2020, and join the Bucks in the summer.

Before taking the reins at Pennygillam, the former-Plymouth Argyle scholar enjoyed successful playing spells with the likes of Plymouth Parkway, Saltash United and St Austell.

And with the Clarets currently sitting ninth in the league standings, the 27-year-old believes that the time is right for him to take the next step in his career on the sidelines.

‘I’m feeling very proud if I’m honest,’ said Hart. ‘It’s a pretty surreal moment. This club has shown an awful lot of belief in me as a young coach, somebody who is very much still learning his trade.

‘To be given the opportunity to grow and take that to the next level at a club like this is a pretty surreal moment for me, but one which I feel like I deserve. I just can’t wait to get to work to be honest.

‘I’ve taken an interest [in Buckland] from a bit of afar and the club speaks for itself. It’s an incredibly attractive place to play football and equally attractive to be a part of behind the scenes.

‘It sells itself – it’s got the best facilities potentially across Devon and Cornwall and it should be seen in that light for players as well.’

Hart ended his playing career at Saltash to join Launceston last season, but his tenure didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts.

Wet winter weather and a second national lockdown meant he took charge of just one competitive game before the 2020/21 season was shelved.

Notable achievements this season include picking up four points from a possible six in back-to-back games against Callington Town, handing the Pasty Men just their second loss in 18 league games in the process.

‘I thought the Covid period taught me a lot, because coming into a managerial role at that time I got to learn about some of the issues a manager has to deal with from day to day,’ Hart explained.

‘Then when the games started to come, I’ve been involved in a league which is competitive and took over a side who were struggling at the time with only one win from 15 before the previous season was curtailed.

‘It’s taught me how to set up a team and given me a huge amount of belief in terms of how I want to see football played.

‘I’ve always had a firm belief in my ability, both as a player and a coach, and I expect that to continue here.’

Interim boss Nick Milton, who assisted former manager Paul Froude up until his departure on March 20, will continue to lead the squad for the remainder of the season.

And while Hart will be bringing in some backroom staff of his own, the acting manager is still very much part of his plans at Homers Heath.

‘I think continuity has to play a part in what we do moving forward,’ Hart revealed. ‘Milts has done a fantastic job – the result yesterday [0-0 against Tavistock] speaks for itself.

‘Anyone who can shut-out Tavistock and take a point off the team chasing the title must have a firm belief and some good players at the club as well.

‘A few tweaks and a system implemented over a sustained period of time can see this club get up to where Tavistock are.

‘Everything here screams a level of class that is beyond most clubs in Devon and Cornwall, so it should be looking to push on to higher levels.’

Bucks director of football Adam Castle travelled to the club from Ireland to welcome Hart into his new role, along with other members of the committee.

There was plenty of interest in the vacant position following Froude’s departure – but as far as Castle was concerned there was only one stand-out candidate.

‘I’m delighted that we’ve announced it here today,’ said Castle. ‘It’s been a long week piecing it all together.

‘Obviously we were respectful to Launceston because he is their manager until the end of the season, but we’re delighted to get the news out.

‘It’s been a long and thorough process. We had 10 applicants, five interviews and board meetings over Zoom, as it is nowadays.

‘We’re very excited for Dan to make a start once we’ve finished our season at Helston.’