A new era in the 75-year history of Connah’s Quay Nomads gets under way at Bridge Meadow in Haverfordwest this Saturday.

Craig Harrison will take charge of the reigning JD Cymru Premier champions for the first time following his appointment as manager after Andy Morrison’s departure.

It was a truly memorable six years at the helm for larger-than-life Morrison, who led the Nomads to back-to-back league titles, the Welsh Cup, League Cup and final of the Scottish Challenge Cup.

The avuncular Scotsman also took the Deesiders into Europe for the first time in 2016 and made a huge impact on Welsh club football during his stint in the Nomads hotseat.

“I’ve had an incredible journey, beyond my wildest dreams with what we’ve achieved,” he said in a video message posted on social media this week.

“When I came in, just short of six years ago, I wanted to beat Carmarthen Town, and we won that one, and I can’t tell you how nervous I was going into that game.

“Things grew from there and we’ve had an incredible journey.

“There are so many people I need to thank, and to do it here, I’d probably leave one or two out.

"I will be contacting people and thanking them for the support and part they played in the journey that we’ve had.

“But I would like to thank the owner of the club Gary Dewhurst for the opportunity I was given.

“Gary had to show great courage to give me an opportunity because I don’t tick boxes and I’m a strong character.

“But probably that is the strength of Gary, to think outside the box, because I’m sure if he’d rung around people who had never worked with me, he may have gone in a different direction.

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“But he didn’t, he believed in me and gave me the opportunity, and whatever talent you have, you need a platform, and the platform was given to me.

“We have gone beyond our wildest dreams with what we’ve achieved, so I’d like to thank the club for that, thank Gary and wish the club all the best going forward because we’re in a really strong position.

“This week we navigated two tough cup games, we’re three points short of a European place, and the whole squad is back fit.

“I wish the club the very best going forward, and I look forward to seeing years of success.”

Morrison, 51, a no-nonsense defender for the likes of Manchester City, Huddersfield Town and Plymouth Argyle during a 15-year playing career, knows his successor very well.

Harrison joined the Nomads’ coaching staff in October 2018 and was at Morrison’s side as the club won the league last term and the season before.

Those two successes, plus the League Cup triumph in February 2020, saw 43-year-old Harrison add yet more honours to a remarkable list of accolades in the Welsh game.

Gateshead-born Harrison, who played for Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace, led The New Saints to six consecutive league championships between 2012 and 2017.

And multiple Welsh Cups and League Cups, as well as a new world record for most top-flight wins in a row, makes him the most successful boss in Cymru Premier history.

“I’m very excited to take on this new challenge and I’m looking forward to working in a different capacity at the club alongside some very good people, both on and off the pitch,” said Harrison.

Harrison began his managerial career at Airbus UK Broughton and after leaving TNS in 2017 he took charge of Hartlepool United and Bangor City.

He takes the reins at the Nomads with the team sixth in the table after as many matches, while their trip to Haverfordwest County is followed by a home clash with TNS.

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