DEFENDER Sam Bradley is back at Eccleshill United, despite leaving under a cloud six months ago.

Bradley went to play for their Northern Counties East League Premier Division rivals Albion Sports, citing too many changes at the Eagles after returning there following a couple of years in Dubai.

Eccleshill boss Lee Elam was reluctant to let Bradley and his centre-back partner Aran Basi go, leading to tensions between the trio.

But Bradley says all that is behind him now, and he had some kind words for Elam.

Talking us through his latest move, Bradley said: “The team at Eccleshill before I left for Dubai was the best I’d played in, on and off the pitch.

“But when I came back for this season, there was only Aran and Jonny (Irving) left. I felt there were too many changes and I needed to move to Albion.

“That’s where most of my friends were, like Andy Cooper and Charlie Flaherty, and where Aran was going too.

“It’s hard to put my finger on it, but I wasn’t enjoying it at Albion either, maybe just because the style of football didn’t suit me, and then Lee got in touch and asked if I wanted to go back to Eccleshill.

“Both clubs are close to my heart, and I have nothing bad to say about Albion, as the board have been fantastic and the transfer went through fine.

“I just think Lee’s style of playing out from the back suits me more, as a modern centre-half.

“We’ve sorted things out now. Arguments happen in football but we’re both adults, and we want the best for each other.

“I’ve played with Lee too, and I have a lot of respect for him as both a player and a manager.”

Bradley is excited about what Eccleshill can achieve in the future, saying: “The squad’s really talented.

“Most of them have been together for two years now and I think you’ve got more chance of going up the more that cohesion and camaraderie builds.

“I think we have a shot at promotion in the next few years, as even this season, in the few games I played at Eccleshill, we were unlucky.

“We’d be the better team, and out pass the opposition, but the little breaks didn’t fall for us.”

Eccleshill are due to be part of the post-season Yorkshire Trophy, which will take place between April 13 and May 29 provided fans can attend.

Asked how excited the players are, Bradley said: “It has to go ahead for us. I’m maybe one of the few that’s found lockdown good, as I’ve saved money and got fitter by running every day.

“But a lot of players are finding it difficult without football.

“It’s something we’re all looking forward to, a chance to play again before next season, so hopefully the fans can come in.”