Forest Green Rovers goalkeeper coach Pat Mountain admits he is leaving with a heavy heart after agreeing to join Championship club Bristol City.
Mountain was a significant addition to the club when he joined in January last year from Hull City.
The Welsh-born coach, who had also spent nine years with Wolverhampton Wanderers, worked with young talents at The New Lawn like Bradley Collins, who enjoyed a good campaign at Burton Albion last season, and Brighton loanee Robert Sanchez, as well as playing a key part in bringing James Montgomery and Lewis Thomas and working with academy talent like Declan Lehmann.
He replaces David Coles at Bristol, who left Ashton Gate earlier this month and admitted it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
“From the start, I was made welcome and the chairman and manager sold me what they were intending to do, which was the most impressive thing – they had a plan of what they were going to do and how they were going to do that,” he said.
“Disappointed to fall a bit short at the end of last season but you look back at the season as whole and think what great progress is was for the football club.
“It is a tough decision to leave, the backroom staff is a really tight group and the manager and the chairman have fostered that environment and got that amongst the players, making it a great place to be and I’m convinced, with the right recruitment, they’ll take the club forward again.
“When an opportunity like this comes along, most people are ambitious and would like to be working at the highest level possible and I’d be cheating myself if I didn’t take it to see where I could get to.
“I did want to stay at Forest Green and was preparing for next season and was happy to stay and loved my time there but I want to work at the highest level if I can.”
As well as being a goalkeeping coach, Pat worked closely with manager Mark Cooper and assistant manager Scott Lindsey on the training pitch, stating that he is leaving the club a better coach than when he arrived as a result.
While Mark is disappointed to see Pat depart, he highlights that it shows the work that FGR are doing to uncover talent and provide the perfect platform to develop on both a playing front and in the backroom staff.
“We wish Pat the best at Bristol City, who have got themselves a great person as well as goalkeeping coach,” he said.
“In the last 18 months, Pat has been a great addition to the backroom staff at Forest Green and has helped to move the club forward.
“As with our players, we can’t stand in the way of Pat moving onto a Championship club and it highlights how well we do as a club in spotting talent and nurturing it.”