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New Stamford signing Bartle sets his sights on another title medal

New signing Connor Bartle is determined to play his part in Stamford’s continued push to be attractive and successful.

With a title medal from the Northern Premier League Division One South already in his cabinet, he brings quality and know-how.

The left-back made the switch from Northern Premier League neighbours Grantham Town after being tracked by Stamford manager Graham Drury for some time.

Bartle, 24, points to the the professionalism of the club and Drury’s philosophy as key factors in his decision to join.

“The set-up and the facilities are great. There’s nothing else like it at this level,” he said. “I’d spoken to Graham a few times before over the years and this felt like the right time to come.

“I like the style of football he wants - getting the ball down and playing, not hoofing it upfield.”

“The team was second in the table when Covid finished the season. It’s not about resting on our laurels - we want to better that this time round.”

New Stamford left-back Connor Bartle (40344534)
New Stamford left-back Connor Bartle (40344534)

As a youngster, Bartle - a Forest fan who lives in Nottingham - set his sights set on playing for them. That was an increasing possibility after spending three years in Forest’s academy but injury curtailed his dream.

It was a bitter pill to swallow at 16 years old but Bartle looked ahead, not down.

“It was not nice to happen but I kind of anticipated it,” he said. “I had the right people around me to help.”

Ironically, given his boyhood loyalties, it was a hop over the River Trent to Notts County’s academy that picked him up. However, the marked difference in facilities and opportunities between a Championship club and a then League Two side was an eye opener.

By this time, Bartle was 18 and felt he was ready to take the step up into senior football. The opportunity came with Basford United.

Manager Martin Carruthers switched him from winger to left-back and both parties benefitted.

Basford won the Midland League Premier Division and, after going 28 matches unbeaten from the start of the season, the Northern Premier League Division One South title in 2017-18.

“We’d won the league by February,” said Bartle. “To be fair, there was enough money being put into the club to get that - it wasn’t by luck.”

A knee injury the following season led to him being sent out on loan to Carlton Town for a short spell before Paul Rawden took him to Grantham Town.

Now Bartle is focussed on using his experience to drive the Daniels to league success.

“Graham has said that it helps with me having won this league. At a young age too, it shows some of the academy lads that you don’t have to wait - go for it, I say.”

In his first run-out for the Daniels, Bartle relished the opportunity to pit himself against ex-Premier League star George Boyd in the friendly with League One side Peterborough United.

“Obviously we weren’t expected to win but to lose 1-0 was a credit to us,” said Bartle. “It was completely different to what we’ll be doing in the league - no team is going to keep the ball like they did.

“But at Melton on Saturday, it gave the lads the opportunity to retain possession for longer spells.”

Bartle hopes for more of the same against Sleaford Town on Saturday as the build-up to what will hopefully be a successful season continues.

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