The New Saints name Craig Harrison as their new manager

Craig Harrison
Harrison made 68 appearances in the Premier League and Football League

The New Saints have appointed former Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace defender Craig Harrison as their new manager.

The 34-year-old left his post as director of football at Airbus UK in the Welsh Premier.

"There were a lot of strong candidates for the job," Harrison told BBC Radio Shropshire.

"Challenging to get in the third round of Europe is what every aspiring manager wants."

Harrison takes over from Mike Davies who led Saints into the Champions League to play Belgium Champions Anderlecht in 2010.

It is nearly 10 years ago since Harrison's professional playing career came to a premature end after breaking his leg in a reserve team game for Crystal Palace against Reading.

He admits that he initially struggled to come to terms with the end of his time as a footballer.

"I had a very bad break, I was in rehab for 19 months, three operations later it just wasn't going to be so I had to retire. But I think that's where I've gained most of my strength from. I'm a bigger, stronger character now," he added.

"There were some dark times then though, having your boyhood dreams taken away from you. There were six months when I did feel sorry for myself. I know for a fact I wouldn't have been here now if I hadn't been through that."

Harrison links up with Carl Darlington, who was part of the coaching staff previously at Airbus UK.

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