PHIL Parkinson has bolstered Altrincham's defence for next season by snapping up a highly-rated young centre-back who was targeted by League One Blackpool a few months ago.

Toby Mullarkey has stepped up a division by joining Alty from Nantwich Town, but he could have been playing at an even higher level after catching the eye of Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips.

The 22-year old Warrington-born defender was invited to spend a week at Bloomfield Road just before Christmas after impressing Blackpool scouts during the first half of last season.

McPhillips decided against following up his interest, but Mullarkey continued undeterred at the Weaver Stadium and went on to register more league appearances (37) than any other Nantwich player in a campaign that ended with a fourth-place finish in Evo-Stik Premier.

A versatile player who can also operate in midfield, Mullarkey completed a two-year scholarship at Crewe before joining Leek Town and then Nantwich.

He arrives at The J.Davidson Stadium with a reputation as a Parkinson-style centre-back who augments his defensive attributes with a calmness in possession.

The other new recruit will look distinctly familiar to Alty fans after striker Tom Peers returned to the fold, seven months after leaving the Robins to sign for FC United of Manchester.

Parkinson has also secured the signatures of several players from the squad that went so close to a second successive promotion last season, with skipper Jake Moult, Steven Drench, Andy White, Connor Hampson, Josh Hancock, Max Harrop and Alty's longest-serving player Shaun Densmore all following Jordan Hulme, Tom Hannigan and John Johnston in accepting new deals.

Meanwhile, keeper Elliot Wynne has been released.

FIFA referee and Alty fan Anthony Taylor is the star attraction at a Q&A dinner at The J.Davidson Stadium on Friday, June 14, starting at 8pm.

Tickets at £25 each include a comedian and two-course meal, as well as the chance to quiz Taylor, and are available from or by calling 0161 928 1045.