JOE Duckworth says his move to Witton Albion was “a no-brainer.”

The striker was one of eight new signings announced by the club earlier this month as they prepare for the 2022-23 season and bid to bounce straight back following relegation from the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

After his best ever season, scoring 28 goals in 47 appearances for Winsford United and FC United of Manchester, he is looking forward to a new challenge having turned down the opportunity to stay at The Reds.

He is also relishing the opportunity to be back playing closer to his native Winsford after prior spells at his hometown club and 1874 Northwich.

“I wasn’t looking for a move – I had spoken with FC who wanted me to stay and offered me a deal,” he said.

“But when Jon, the new manager at Witton, rang it was a no-brainer for me. It is much closer to home, the personal benefits for me were perfect.

“A manager who has played as a forward in the Premier League and is willing to help me progress and provide a platform for me to do so was a big factor.

“The facilities at Witton are really good and the pitch is in good shape which was another big reason.”

After a prolific opening to the season with Winsford, Duckworth was snapped up by FC United and took to life at a higher level well.

Indeed, his final game in a red shirt saw him score in a European final as FC beat Czech side Prague Raptors to lift the Fenix Trophy, played between eight non-league teams from across the continent.

“In regard to Winsford, of course it was difficult to leave as I have family connections there and a lot of friends who play and help around the club,” said Duckworth, whose elder brother Lee is Blues’ manager.

“But it is time for me to focus on Witton and give it my all this season and see where we can go.

“I am really happy to be here – I have been for a coffee with Jon a couple of times now and over to the ground and his ambition is really good.

“The lads he has brought in means we should be challenging to take Witton straight back up after a disappointing season last year.

“There seems a new lease of life at the club and hopefully everybody gets behind us and we can win football matches in return.”