MARC Benterman is relishing the prospect of managing his local club after being appointed as Witham Town's new first-team boss.

However, the new man at the helm says he is coming into the job with his eyes open and appreciates the challenges that lie ahead after moving up to take charge at step four of the non-league pyramid for the first time.

Benterman, who lives and works in Witham and was given his Town playing debut by manager Tony Last, has arrived at Spa Road after successful stints in charge of Halstead Town and Debenham LC.

He has most recently been at Stansted FC, where he was joint manager and led them to a cup double and runners-up spot in the Essex Senior League last year and is now excited to be stepping up with Witham.

"I'm a Witham lad," he said.

"I live and work here and it took me seven minutes to walk to the ground when I had my interview for the job.

"I know them and I played under Lasty (Tony Last) when he was manager.

"It wasn't many games, but Lasty gave me my debut.

"Now my son goes there for training every weekend so the chance to manage the club was an opportunity I couldn't turn down.

"I had a great time at Stansted last year and we so nearly did a treble there.

"We won both of the cups that we were in for and were runners-up in a very competitive Essex Senior League, but the chance to put my beliefs into practice at a higher level was something I wanted to do.

"I'm not naive enough to think I did well at Stansted so that means this will be easy, but people have been very kind and said to me that I deserve the chance.

"I have my eyes very open and I will surround myself with the best quality staff. "Witham has a great committee running it and I was so excited by what they had to say.

"The club has fantastic facilities and you think 'wow, the infrastructure is incredible' so the whole project excites me.

"What the club needs now is stability and continuity and we're looking to bring that."

Benterman knows that, like his predecessor Mark Ashford last year, he will have to manage on a tight budget and fulfil the club's desire to develop its up-and-coming young talent while looking to keep them safe in Bostik League division north.

It's not an easy task, especially as a number of last year's squad, including goalkeeper Luca Collins, winger Johnny Ashman, and defenders Jack Kemsley and Jack Lelliott have moved on, but the new boss knows how he will look to build his squad ahead of their pre-season games.

He added: "We have our first pre-season on July 6 at Harwich & Parkeston so I'm working towards that at the moment.

"I'm assessing who I have from the squad of last year and we'll then be recruiting as best as we can.

"I've said to the board - and they are fully behind us - that we are going to bring in five or six experienced lads because we are not naive enough to go full-on youth in a very tough league.

"But around those experienced lads, we will bring in a lot of young players from within the club and also by recruiting talented young players from outside.

"We want to give these players a platform to express themselves and that fits in perfectly with the ethos of the club.

"We all want to bring the youth through."

One big weapon that Benterman will have at his disposal is that former Witham Town fans' favourite Paul King has agreed to come on board as part of his managerial team.

And Benterman knows how valuable his friend's experience will be.

"There is a lot to do, so I'm very pleased to have Paul King on board," said the new boss.

"I've known him since we were six or seven and he's going to be a big part of my management team.

"I'm not sure what role he'll have but he will be on board.

"He didn't take much persuading - I touched base with him when I got the opportunity to go for the job and we ended up talking for nearly three hours.

"He said he couldn't be manager, but he'd love to be involved.

"I can't wait to get to work and adding Kingy in gives it the wow factor."