WINCHESTER City’s new assistant boss Barry Blankley says the opportunity to work alongside Craig Davis tempted him back into the non-League game.

The ex-Bashley boss and Salisbury City No2 has been off the local scene since his brief stint as Stuart Ritchie’s right-hand man at Havant & Waterlooville came to an end in September 2012.

But the former Southampton and Aldershot defender has not been out of football completely.

Thanks to a couple of his old Saints teammates, Martin Foyle – now head of recruitment at Motherwell - and Chris Wilder, he has been busy scouting for Motherwell, Oxford United, Northampton Town and Wilder’s newly-crowned League One champions Sheffield United.

“I’ve really enjoyed going out and watching players and doing match reports. You see a lot of people when you’re out scouting and it’s been good meeting up with ex-pros I've played with and against over the years,” said Blankley.

At the same time, though, he has missed the dressing room craic and is excited to be reunited with Davis in the Southern One South & West.

“Craig was skipper for me at Bashley and also played at Salisbury and we’ve been in touch ever since,” added the West End-based financial adviser.

“It’s that connection with Craig that’s got me interested again.

“The good thing is that I don’t know the Winchester players, so it’s a blank canvas and I can go in with a completely open view. It’s a fresh start for me and the players."

Blankley already knows the City coaching team having managed Richard Morse at Bashley and Gareth Byres at AFC Totton.

*More on this story and all the latest regional non-League news in the weekend’s Pink.