NICK Grimes describes Taunton Town as “the best club I’ve been at”, as the centre-back settles into life at the Southern League promotion hopefuls.

The 21-year-old joined from the Peacocks’ Devon rivals Tiverton Town in August, and combines playing with his university studies.

Having come through the Exeter City youth system alongside his brother Matt – who is now at Swansea City – Grimes went on to play for Slimbridge and Cinderford Town, before joining Truro City last season.

The campaign ended with Truro being relegated from National League South, but Grimes struck up a good understanding with Michael Meaker.

Leigh Robinson’s assistant manager at Taunton and then Truro, Meaker returned to the Peacocks as coach... and Grimes soon followed suit.

Talking about his desire to work with Meaker again, Grimes told the County Gazette: “He’s a likeable personality, and he connects well with the players.

“Last season [at Truro] didn’t go as well as we’d hoped, but I got on well with him.

“He helped me a lot last year, and I wanted to carry that on at Taunton.”

Grimes is also full of praise for the rest of the management team, saying: “Everyone’s been great and I felt welcomed as soon as I was in the door.

“[Head of football] Rob Dray and [assistant boss] Matt Villis have been class.

“Matt, as a former centre-back himself, has helped me with a few things.”

Training and playing alongside the likes of Ben Adelsbury, Jamie Price and Shane White – all quality defenders at this level – has also helped.

“All the lads have Non-League and overall football experience.

“There’s lots of things I can tweak in my game, from their experience.

“Young players can be quite naive in certain areas, and they’re so sharp on the basics.”

Grimes is keen to keep developing his game; in boss Dray’s words, “he’s an ambitious young man, he wants to play in the full-time game, and we can help him get there”.

Asked whether that ambition is at the back of his mind, Grimes said: “I always have a long-term goal, but I’ve set short-term targets this year with Taunton, individually and as a team, and I will keep chipping away at those.”

And yet, even with his undeniable talent – described by Dray as “one of the top centre-backs in the South West” – and the warm welcome that he received, Grimes did not enjoy the best of starts to his life as a Taunton player.

He was shown two red cards in his first two games, against Harrow Borough and Willand Rovers (the second later being rescinded), and then picked up a knee injury away to Dorchester Town on September 17, which kept him out for the best part of a month.

But the defender has bounced back well, delivering man of the match performances in the wins over Truro and Wimborne Town in the last fortnight.

Grimes said: “I had a tough four to five weeks when I first joined, but everyone was great in keeping my morale high, and keeping me involved even when I was out injured.

“I just had to stay positive and hope it would work out.

“I feel like I’m back in the swing of things now, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Grimes netted the second goal (his first for his new club) in the Peacocks’ 2-0 win over Truro last month, and said: “It was a weird game, playing against your mates and your old club.

“To score my first goal was a good feeling – it came at a great time in the game, and we got the clean sheet as well.”

With Taunton now just four points behind Premier South pace-setters Tiverton and Truro, Grimes added: “The club made a slow start this season, but we’re building momentum and we’ve beaten three of the top four.

“We want to keep winning and get closer [to the top].”

And, were Taunton to achieve promotion to National League South, Grimes believes they would be at home at that higher level.

“Taunton are like a Football League club playing Non-League,” he said.

“It’s the best club I’ve been at; it’s so well run, and the people behind the scenes do so much for you as a player.

“And you can tell by the attendances we get every week that the fanbase is incredible – I’ve never experienced anything like it.”