ST Martins Football Club will run a reserve side next season.

The North West Counties League side confirmed the news this week and looked ahead to entering a second string in the Salop League.

A club statement read: “Two years ago, adopting the vision of St Martins Football Club’s first team manager Dan Stevens and general manager Craig Rogers, St Martins FC invested into the development of a feeder team to support the first team and help progress the club to semi-professional football status.

“Now two years later, and after hard work and dedication to that vision from the subsequent club managers and coaches and continued by the current management teams led by manager James Etherington and most importantly under 18s manager Liam Braisdell, the club is proud to announce that next season the club has registered to be enlisted in the Shropshire League.”

The reserve side concept follows a decision the club needed to develop its own players.

“Due to originally sourcing its players predominantly from Ellesmere Rangers and Oswestry Boys and Girls FC U16’s teams, the club has been required to invest heavily into the formal integration of safeguarding and welfare within the clubs structure,” said the spokesman.

“Specifically the appointments of Les Williams as the Clubs Welfare Officer and Ande Joseph as its Safeguarding Lead have been formalised.

“It has needed additional secretarial support, more sponsorship with special thanks to Caffi Wylfa, Stans, The Keys and Oswestry Sports Council.

“The club needed more training and match-day resources with special thanks to TNS, The St Martins Community Centre and the Parish Council), and with Covid 19, significant additional support to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants was provided thanks to Nick Durman and Sammy Joseph.”

The club backed the new reserve side to provide future first team stars and relished the new season.

The statement added: “Over the last two years the clubs Under 17s and now Under 18s have developed into a team that is more than capable of competing in an “all ages” league.

“With five players from the team already having been called up to the first team, we have achieved our club’s vision to support the development of players ready for first team action next season.”

At the time of going to press the Saints were set to take on local rivals Whitchurch Alport in a friendly.