NEW St Albans City player-assistant manager Mark Beard says he cannot wait for the new season to start so he can prove a point to his former employers.

The former Millwall, Sheffield United and Southend United defensive midfield linchpin admits he was shocked and disappointed' after being released by Conference side Stevenage Borough having helped them win the FA Trophy for the first time in their history at Wembley last month.

Beard made 49 appearances since arriving at Broadhall Way in August last year and several other Conference clubs were sniffing around him before his old pal, Saints boss Ritchie Hanlon, came calling.

Beard, who once commanded a £117,000 fee when moving to the Blades from the Den in 1995, has signed a one year deal at Clarence Park and has targeted an instant return to the Conference with his new club.

"Me and Ritchie are both here to be successful and we want to take the club back up, no doubt about it," said the Roehampton-born 32-year-old, who made 136 appearances for Southend and also enjoyed two spells at Kingstonian.

"We're not one for the long ball game and while we know it is going to be hard we are both looking forward to the experience.

"I've known Ritchie for years having played against one another many times. I'm delighted to be working with him."

Beard will complete his Level 3 UEFA B coaching badge in August and started preparing for life on the other side of the white line three years ago.

He was appointed director of youth at Spanish third division side San Pedro, where he also played for the Marbella side. With the aid of former Spurs midfielder Vinny Samways, Beard watched over seven academy teams before returning to the UK where Stevenage was his next port of call.

"I'll be the oldest guy in the team but my main strength is my fitness," he added. "I just hope my experience will rub off on the younger players."

Saints boss Hanlon was delighted to land his midfield general' assistant ahead of interested teams at a higher level.

"I've known Mark a long time and actually came up against him when I made my debut for Southend against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, where we lost 3-0," he said. "Mark knows people I know and was one of the first names I had in mind when I got the job here - he ticks all the boxes.

"He's a hard-working defensive midfielder, which is what we've been looking for. He can't really play centre half as he isn't big enough but he can do a job at right back and centre midfield. He knows the game well and played a key role in helping Stevenage win the FA Trophy," Hanlon added.

"Mark has all the relevant coaching badges and I'm looking forward to working with him as he is someone I trust. He will bring experience to the team and is someone the other players can look up to."

Meanwhile, Hanlon has failed to land the experienced goalkeeper he was pursuing because the club could not match the Scottish stopper's pay demands.

"We know we need a decent keeper after Paul Bastock," said Hanlon on Tuesday. "We're still looking at a few and I spoke to one yesterday. He is only 23 but has played regular first team football.

"I've know the player for a long time and there are a few league clubs after him but they are only interested in bringing him in as a number two. We can offer him the chance to be our number one keeper.

"The person who comes in will be good enough for what we want."

Hanlon has also revealed the club have turned down another bid from Lewes for wantaway midfielder Tom Davis, describing it as not acceptable'.

"We'll see what they come back with," he added.