Manager Mark Ashford feels Tom Monk's arrival at Witham Town shows that the club is building a reputation for developing young players and hopes that rising stars are keen to take advantage of the opportunities they can offer.

Monk, who is a 22-year-old former Colchester United trainee and has joined after spells with Coggeshall Town, AFC Sudbury and Needham Market, is the latest Witham signing that may have caught the eye around the non-league circuit.

Despite having one of the most meagre budgets in Bostik League division north, Ashford has managed to attract players of Monk's quality, with others, including Johnny Ashman, Toby Aromoloran and Luca Collins, keen to join.

And the Town boss hopes he and his coaching staff are building a reputation as a group who will give young players chances and who can develop them into better players.

Ashford said: “I hear a lot of managers say to my assistants and other people: ‘how is Mark getting these players in on a budget?’

“I’d like to think that it’s based on what they are hearing from other players about the way we are with players and the development opportunities that we offer at Witham Town.

“The way that we can genuinely make them better players.

“That is attractive to a certain type of player and that type of player is the sort we want.

“If you get yourself a reputation as someone who can genuinely help players to become better players then that’s a great asset.

“Players see other players developing and that then becomes your best recruitment.

“All players know other players and they may say ‘that Mark Ashford is a real pain because he’s always on at you, but when you listen to him, you don’t half improve as a player’.

“And if you can build that sort of reputation, then you will attract players who are prepared to turn down money to come and play for you.

“I can turn on the hairdryer treatment, but I’d like to think I treat players with respect one-to-one and look after them.

“I think players appreciate that so hopefully we will continue to attract players who would not go elsewhere for the money that we have to offer and they will see the benefits in their development."