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Ashforth is Black's new number two

Former Harrogate Town manager Lee Ashforth returned to the EVO-STIK League on Friday as number two to Grant Black at Ossett Town after the Ingfield boss moved quickly to replace the outgoing Micky Norbury.

Ashforth stepped up to succeed Billy Miller at Railway in 2015 and was Paul Quinn’s assistant at Brighouse Town last season before the pair left the Dual Seal Stadium at the end of the campaign after guiding the club to a best ever finish of ninth in EVO-STIK League North.

Ashforth, pictured, will be back on the touchline for the first time at Clitheroe on Saturday after Norbury left this week before being unveiled on Friday as the new assistant manager to Karl Rose at Goole. In a statement confirming his own appointment, Ashforth told fans he was delighted to end his six month break from the game to work with Black.

Ashford said: “I’ve had six months off from the game and that is the first time in 20 years I have not been involved. I have enjoyed the break and certainly didn’t miss pre-season! I had had a few offers over the summer and again in the last six weeks but there was nothing that totally convinced me to return, and as I say I was enjoying the break.

“That was until I got the call from Grant this week. The opportunity to come in and work with him and Steve Ridley was too good to turn down. I was excited having spoken to them and discussing what has been built at Ingfield and that is why I knew it was the right time to get back into Non-League football.

“When Grant told me Mick Norbury was leaving and asked me to join the management team it was an instant yes. I have learnt a lot from the managers I have worked with and have to say in a short space of time Grant has built himself a fantastic reputation. I cannot wait to get working with him.”

He added: “Ossett Town is a club where I have built several relationships over the years and I am looking forward to working within the club. The squad is really good and know a few of the players already, I’ve tried so sign a few of them over the years!

“I’m here to support Grant and ensure the team continues to progress as it has done during his term in charge. I have watched a few Town games this season, and many more in the Evo-Stik League, I’ve always been impressed for what I have seen.”

A former Ossett Town player in the 1980s, Norbury, pictured above, returned to work with Black in February 2016, quickly becoming a popular member of the management team as well as playing a key role in the recent successes at Ingfield including the club's run to the fourth and final qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup this season.

Paying tribute to his former assistant, Black said: “I am disappointed that Norbs has decided to move on, he has done great for us and helped me a lot. I didn’t feel I could stand in his way and wish him well. I understand why he has made the decision.”

Images courtesy of Ossett Town/Mark Gledhill

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