FC CLACTON new-boy Josh Gould believes his new club are a "perfect fit" and insists he is ready for a fresh challenge.

Although dual registered with hometown club Brightlingsea Regent, he says he is a Seasiders player "first and foremost" and is looking forward to playing his part in the second half of their Thurlow Nunn League campaign.

Centre-half Gould made his debut in the recent 3-1 defeat at Gorleston and is now setting his sights on maximum points from their festive fixtures at Walsham-le-Willows (on Saturday) and at home to Stanway Rovers (December 28).

"Clacton are a perfect fit, in terms of location, and, with hindsight, I needed a change of scenery and a fresh challenge," said Gould, who had been a key figure in Regent's meteoric rise to step three football in the BetVictor Isthmian League.

"When you're at one club for a long time, you're in a bit of a bubble but sometimes it's healthy to try something different.

"You see it all the time in football, at all levels, and it's invigorating to take on a new challenge.

"(Manager) Tom (Austin) and Salts (head coach Ryan Salter) are young, ambitious coaches and they remind me of (former Regent bosses) James Webster and Tom Rothery.

"They laid out their plans and a top-three finish is the target.

"Hopefully it's something I can help them achieve, by bringing a bit of experience and leadership on the pitch.

"Clacton have a young but very talented squad and a top-three finish is certainly within our grasp. We're more than capable.

"It's a great set-up and infrastructure and they're ambitious on and off the pitch. It's a very positive place to be."

While excited by his new challenge, Gould, who previously had spells at Stanway Rovers and Wivenhoe Town, admits it was a wrench to leave Regent.

Before joining Clacton, he had offers from two others Isthmian League clubs.

However, it would have meant travelling to the south of the county and he would have been unable to commit.

"I didn't want to go," he said.

"I've been at the club for 11 and a half seasons, in two spells, and played for them as a 15-year-old when they were Brightlingsea United.

"They were down in Essex and Suffolk Border League division three then so I'm proud of the part I've played, helping them up to the Isthmian League via the Thurlow Nunn League.

"When I first started playing for them it was a struggle to get a side out. We were happy just to have 11 players.

"But we started picking up results and building momentum and it's been a privilege to be part of the club's success.

"The fact it's my hometown club makes it extra special.

"Leaving was a tough decision and I had a very honest chat with Kem.

"It became clear I wasn't going to be playing for the foreseeable future and, at my age, I feel I need to be playing games.

"Brightlingsea hold my Isthmian League registration but it's much more than just a loan arrangement with Clacton.

"First and foremost, I'm their player and here to stay."

Clacton had been due to host Kirkley and Pakefield last weekend but the match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at 10am on Saturday morning.