Former Barnsley FC defender Luke Potter is hoping to use his experience in professional football as he looks to move Athersley Rec into the top ten this season.
The 28-year-old from Darton, who was appointed Rec manager this week, made 21 appearances for his hometown club before retiring in 2012 due to a knee injury which required seven operations. Potter, who is also a part-time coach at Oakwell with the Reds' under 13s as well as a cricketer for Hoylandswaine and Stainborough, oversaw his first game as Athersley boss on Wednesday as Rec lost 1-0 at home to Bridlington Town who scored an agonising 95th-minute winner. He had been assistant manager at Ossett Albion for four years but took his first managerial job after Wayne Thompson was sacked by Athersley seven games into the season.
Luke said: "It's a good opportunity for me and I am over the moon to be manager of a great club. I know a lot of people at Rec and it is local to me. Myself and the club are very ambitious. It is difficult to compete in this league because the money being spent by most clubs is ridiculous. But there is a lot of talent at the club, and in Barnsley generally, so I know we can compete.
"I will bring organisation and professionalism from my experience in the Football League and I want us to aim for another top ten finish. I have only just turned 28 which is quite young for a manager but Josh Wright at Worsbrough Bridge is the same age as me. We are probably the two youngest around. After retiring early, I have been in coaching longer than most 28-year-olds and I have some good experience."
Potter made his debut for the Reds as a 17-year-old in their 7-1 loss to West Bromwhich Albion on the final day of the 2006/07 season. He spent the next two seasons on loan at non-league sides Stafford Rangers and Kettering before making 16 Reds appearances in the 2009/10 campaign. He played four more games the following season but came off in a 2-0 home loss to Leicester City in November 2010 which proved to be his final Barnsley match as his knee injuries finished his career, apart from two games on loan to Alfreton in October 2011.
Potter said: "As a kid, I always dreamed of playing for Barnsley and I got to do that at the age of 17 then played 20-odd matches. It was a great experience. Having to retire early was very disappointing but I have moved on now."
On Saturday, Rec were managed by founder Pete Goodlad as they lost 5-2 at leaders Pontefract Collieries. Stevie Bennett, a former Barnsley team-mate of Potter's, levelled at 1-1 but the hosts netted four times in the first ten minutes of the second half before Adam White's late consolation.
Rec have seven points from nine games this season. They are due to visit AFC Liverpool in the FA Vase tomorrow.
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Ex-Red Potter aims for top ten with Rec after starting with last-gasp defeat
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