DORCHESTER Town winger Tom Blair admitted manager Callum Brooks’ belief in his abilities was a central factor in committing to the Magpies for another season.

Blair has accumulated 120 appearances for Dorchester, scoring 20 times, including a hat-trick against National League South side Eastbourne Borough in a memorable 4-0 FA Trophy first-round win last season.

Blair became the Magpies’ first signing of a busy close season, penning a deal after the 3-1 loss to Hartley Wintney on April 27.

Speaking to Echosport, Blair revealed Brooks had displayed a trust in him greater than previous Magpies managers Blair has played under.

He said: “I’m buzzing, since Cal’s come in I feel like I’ve upped my performances, scored a few goals.

“It’s nice for him to have some belief in me because I don’t feel like I’ve had that previous to this season.

“His belief in me has made me a lot more confident, which is what I need. I’ve bought into him and he’s bought into me – it’s nice that he’s offered me another contract.

“He’s said all the right things so hopefully it’ll be a good season next year looking up more than over our shoulders all the time, which will be a nice change.”

Blair confessed talks on his new deal had begun with Brooks a fortnight prior to the Hartley Wintney game.

He said: “A couple of weeks before (the season) finished he told me he wanted me on board, which I was really happy to hear.

“I said to him ‘it would be nice to wait until we’re mathematically safe’ so we waited until after the Tiverton game and got down to business.

“It was obviously nice that I was the first one, he was quite eager to get me on board.”

Dorchester have since secured the signatures of midfielders Billy Lowes, Luke Winsper, Charlie Davis and Sean Wright, defenders Callum Rose, Kyle Egan, Tiago Sa and Dan Strugnell, goalkeeper Shane Murphy plus striker River Smith.

Blair welcomed such prolific early business after a quiet opening to the previous summer under former boss Steve Thompson.

He said: “It’s a lot more positive. Last year we didn’t sign anyone until (late May), so there was a bit of uncertainty.

“This year they’re all decent players, obviously Tiago coming back he’s a good player and had a good spell with us.

“We’ve had loan players but to tie down players for a year is a good thing to have that team togetherness rather than just a few here and there.”

Blair has been given permission to play for Puddletown Cricket Club in the close season and has responded by becoming the county’s current leading wicket taker with 11 in three games, including a stunning 6-13 against Parley.

He said: “Credit to Adam Barrett, the captain, he got me in last year.

“All my best mates play for them so it’s a nice getaway from football but it’s nice to be active in the off season, keeping fit.

“I took six wickets, which was a first for me!

“Callum’s quite happy with me playing cricket, so it’s all working out quite well, I’ve really enjoyed it so far.

“A couple of managers might be a bit wary about it, but he’s glad I’m keeping fit.

“I’m not the greatest batsman so it’s not like I’m going to be hit with the ball very much!”