If you have a quick scan of Brandon Comley’s CV then one thing jumps out.

There’s brief Premier League experience with Queens Park Rangers and plenty of games in League Two, but it is the nine caps for the small Caribbean island of Montserrat that certainly catch the eye.

Far from a footballing hotbed, the 183rd-ranked FIFA nation boast a population of just 5,000, that figure having been as low as 1,200 following volcanic activity in the late 1990s.

For context, there are four times more people living in Horwich, where Comley will be playing his football after being snapped up by Bolton Wanderers and Ian Evatt after impressing at the heart of the Colchester midfield.

The Bolton News: The Soufrierre Hills volcano on Montserrat The Soufrierre Hills volcano on Montserrat

Islington-born Comley made his international bow in 2018 alongside his older brother James, who plays for Maidenhead United and is five years his senior.

It is clear speaking to the Whites new boy the impact playing for the Emerald Boys has on all involved, and the difference success on the field can make to the island.

“It’s more than just the football for us,” the 24-year-old told The Bolton News.

“We go over there and people treat us so well. I don’t know if some of these other countries get it.

“The people over there have nothing. We go over and take them football boots and things like that just to help out as much as we can.

“Some of the boys will take two suitcases and fill up the second one with clothes for the young boys from the island who train with us.

“There’s about 5,000 people on the island, there’s not a lot of business there and a lot of people have fled in case there’s another volcanic eruption.

“The country is actually giving people money to try and get them to come back to the island.

“It’s a great honour to play for the country but to play for the people and to help with the infrastructure of the country is another thing all together.

“On top of that I get to do it with my brother which is just an amazing thing for our family.”

It was only in 2015 that his brother became the first member of the family to represent Montserrat, Comley admitting it all came out of the blue. 

Striker Lyle Taylor, who recently left Charlton Athletic, is one of the more notable names to have played for the country with the squad largely English-based.

The Bolton News: Lyle Taylor, right, is Montserrat's most well known player Lyle Taylor, right, is Montserrat's most well known player

“There were people that we’d grown up with and been friends with for a long time, they were part of the set-up,” Comley said.

“Me and my brother never actually knew we had Montserratian blood in us until very late on in our lives.

“We always thought we just had St Lucian blood in us.

“It got to the point where one of my brother’s friends that played for Montserrat said ‘you should find out if you’re eligible to play’. My dad said we were but they hadn’t been there for years.

“When Montserrat had a volcanic eruption around the time that I was born, a lot of people left the island so they didn’t have much connection to the place.

“It’s not really something that is always spoken about as much as somewhere like St Lucia which is a beautiful place.

“The people that were already involved asked us to come along. My brother went a few years before I did with players like Lyle Taylor and then later on I decided it was time to get involved.

“They brought in a few new boys and it really made a difference to the country.

“Since I’ve started playing they’ve built hotels at the stadium where they wouldn’t have had fans before.

“You can see the affect that you’re having playing for the country and giving your all for them.”

Having a squad heading from England to the British Overseas Territory for matches obviously presents significant logistical challenges, especially given the budget the Montserratian football authorities are working with.

Several of the players are also semi-professional meaning they need to take time off work to go and play.

The journey to Central America is lengthy but largely without drama, that is until the end, as Comley explains.

“Sometimes we’re travelling all day to get there whereas other countries can just jump on a flight,” he said.

“The country has to be smart with the way they get us to places to try and save as much money as they can.

The Bolton News:

“There’s a lot of people who don’t have to do what they do and are losing a lot of money from their actual day jobs to come and represent their country so you’ve got to take your hat off to those people.

“We’ll sometimes just meet at a hotel in London or an airport and just go from there. The northern boys come down too.

“It’s then on a flight to whatever stop and then off to the country itself from there.

“The craziest thing is when you get to the Caribbean, to get to Montserrat you have to get on a small, little charter plane which is a bit scary to be honest.

“They’re a bit shaky in the air and you’re scared for your life. It’s an experience, I can say that.”

Managed by former Manchester City and Scotland man Willie Donachie, Montserrat were once ranked as the worst team in the world, not winning a game between 1995 and 2012.

But when the coronavirus hit, they were building up to a two-legged clash with Guatemala with the winners going on to face Cuba for a place in the 2021 Gold Cup, having only missed out on last year’s tournament on goal difference.

The Bolton News: Willie Donachie has helped turn around Montserrat's fortunes Willie Donachie has helped turn around Montserrat's fortunes

Donachie and a new influx of players have helped transform fortunes over the last few years, something which Comley takes great pride in.

“The first season I played for them we literally missed out on the Gold Cup by I think it was one goal,” he said. 

“No-one thought we would get anywhere near it. People were writing us off and people from other countries weren’t taking us seriously.

“A lot of these teams had played Montserrat in the past and it hadn’t been as serious a set-up or as serious a group of boys.

“It was a real eye opener for us, something to really spur us on. We knew had the quality and the people to push on.

“So this season, we pushed really hard. We had big games to push for and then the coronavirus happened and that put a halt to our great form.

“It’s a bit annoying. After coming out of the group stages and with the work we’ve put in to be in a position to go the Gold Cup, you just don’t want that momentum to stop.

“Unfortunately we were only a few days from flying out to a semi-final to actually get a Gold Cup place.

“We were so close to getting there and to put a pause on it is so disheartening.

“We’ll go again. The squad believes in themselves and the thing with us, I don’t know if the other Caribbean countries have it, but we’re a big family.

“There was a time beforehand where we weren’t playing games because they couldn’t afford to fly people out because there wasn’t any funding but we’d still meet up and keep that spark.

“So when we go into these games where people write us off, I feel our spirit drives us through playing against some of these big teams.”

One question Wanderers fans will be asking of their new recruit is how his far-flung international commitments might impact on the bread and butter in League Two, Comley snapped up by Evatt having had the highest pass accuracy in the fourth tier last season.

“When I was at Colchester there were a few international players and when you have three in a squad your club can miss the next game,” Comley said. 

“It doesn’t really affect you playing but previously I have had to miss a game which is unfortunate if you’re in form. But it is a massive thing for me, playing for the country, representing my family, going out there with my brother and all the other boys.

“There are times where you have to weigh it up and wonder what the best thing is for you and the club. It’s just something to you have to really think about at the time.”