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Academy boss accepts cameo role

Ilkeston FC's academy manager Steve Welsh is taking charge of their final match of the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League season as the temporary successor to departed manager Andy Watson.

The highly-rated Welsh, pictured, guided the Premier Division club's U18s to the third round of the FA Youth Cup this season and was appointed on Friday for the fixture at Ramsbottom United after Watson's amicable exit from the New Manor Ground on Wednesday.

Welsh, who will be assisted by Wayne Looker, has told the club's fans that he is looking forward to guiding the club's senior side, albeit for one game as the hunt gets underway to replace Watson who arrived last summer as number two to Gavin Strachan and stepped up to succeed him in October when he left for Doncaster Rovers.

Acknowledging the pressure would be off at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Welsh said: "I came into work and the club has asked me to take charge of the game, which I’m happy to do. It’s always an uncertain time at a club when a manager leaves and you’re waiting for the next one to come in, but thankfully there’s only one game left this season.”

“We all had an awful lot of time and respect for Andy Watson, but as the cliché goes “football’s a funny old game” and things move on. Who ever comes in next will have to pick up the pieces I guess.

“The lads are all in a buoyant mood though, it helps that it’s the last game of the season. They’ve managed to cement their place in the league with some really good performances recently. They want to finish the season off in style for Andy, they want to put a show on and say “Thanks for everything you’ve done for us this season.””

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Where next?

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Quakers boss hails his heroes Darlington manager Martin Gray has spoken of his pride after winning the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League championship and the club's third promotion in four years.

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