MICHAEL Clegg’s managerial career has been one of highs and lows.

From the incredible run of three promotions in five years with Atherton Collieries to a Covid-affected stint at Ashton United, he has certainly experienced the full spectrum.

Now, he credits Warrington Rylands with helping him rediscover his love of football and believes the club have “the best version” of their manager.

Having left Ashton in January, Clegg spent a brief spell scouting for Altrincham before agreeing to take over at Gorsey Lane in February.

He became the club’s third manager of the 2022-23 campaign – their first in the Northern Premier League’s top flight – and led them to a 10th-place finish before starting this season in fine style to propel themselves into promotion contention.

Whether or not things remain that way will become clear in the weeks and months to come and tonight, Blues will look for an immediate response to Saturday's defeat to Guiseley when they welcome Marske United to Gorsey Lane.

But what can be said for certain is that their manager is in a truly happy place.

“I see it as a bit like my time at Atherton Colls off the pitch in that I love going to training and spending time with them,” he said.

“They’re doing things away from the pitch together now, whether that’s nights out, playing golf, going watching football together. We’re all buying in as a club and that goes far.

“I was flying at Atherton – I had a lot of offers to go higher, I thought Ashton was the right one but it just didn’t work out. Covid came and kind of killed everything we were about.

“In that time, my business grew, my two boys grew up – one of them signed up at Salford City and the other is playing at a good grassroots level – and I spread myself a bit thin.

“I don’t think they got the best of me. It came at a time where my life changed.

“I went from being a young lad who just gave everything to his wife and to football to being a man with a growing business and kids who were growing up.

“Ashton got the bad end of the stick with me, but I’ve come out of the other side and Rylands have got the best version of me. I’ve gone back to what I know having got a bit lost.

“I had an alright budget at Ashton and a chairman who was absolutely brilliant but did get involved a lot more than I was used to – all for good reasons. I was probably a little bit frantic and came away from what I’m all about.

“Now, I know how to manage my own life, I know what I did right at Colls and wrong at Ashton and I’ve mixed that together.

“I know my chairman believes in me and the fans are hanging on our every word – having that belief and love from them has helped me find my love for the game again.”