Ray Green will take charge of Harrogate Railway until the end of the season.
The club’s long-serving under-18s manager steps into the void left by Paul Beesley’s sudden departure last week and oversaw Saturday’s 5-0 NCEL Premier Division loss at Worksop Town.
“I’ve told the club that I will do whatever they need me to do to help them out and I’ve no problem with looking after the first team until the end of the season,” Green said.
“I’ve been at Harrogate Railway for more than 12 years and my role has to been to help the young players progress through the junior ranks and into senior football. I want to continue doing that, but I’m happy to work with the first team as well for the forseeable future.”
With the club currently 17th in the league standings, 15 points clear of the relegation zone and with games in hand on all of the bottom three, Green is confident that Railway can keep their heads above water.
“Never say never, but I can’t see us being dragged into it,” he added.
“We have to keep an eye on the bottom three, but I don’t see any of them stringing five wins together and I think we can sneak enough points between now and the end of the season.
“It’s evident that we do need a few players, but once we get some of our first-team lads back from injury, I think we will be able to field a strong enough team to win games.”
With around half a dozen first team regulars missing for Saturday’s trip to Worksop due to injury and unavailabilty, Green was forced to call up a number of his under-18s squad to take their places.
Railway ended up with six players aged 17 or under on the pitch at once at Sandy Lane, and despite the heavy defeat, the Starbeck side’s new gaffer was pleased with how his youngsters fared and says he will continue to give youth a chance.
“We didn’t deserve to lose 5-0 and I’m proud of how the young lads did,” he continued.
“Some of them are ready to play at this level, but some of them aren’t quite there yet, however, I will continue to give these lads an opportunity.
“The only way they will gain the necessary experience is if they are allowed an opportunity to play senior football.
“Sam Chapman at centre-half and Lewis Barnard at left-back really impressed me in the Worksop game and I’ve got a lot of faith in these players.”
Railway chairman Rob Northfield is confident that the club are in good hands under Green.
He said: “Ray is one of the best coaches I’ve worked with in football, and I include guys who’ve played and coached in the Premier League in that number.
“He’s very good tactically, and a great man-manager and I’m sure he’ll do as good a job with the first team as he has done with our youth sides.
“Whether he wants to continue to bring through the lads from the under-18s or go out and get some new signings, I’ll support him in what he needs to do, and money is there if we need to add players.
“It was great to see so many of the young lads out on the pitch at Worksop because we are a community club and our aim is to coach these boys through the juniors and then give them the oportunity to play senior football.
“We maybe didn’t get the result we wanted, but it was nice to see the model being put into practice.”
New boss Green was due to take Railway to Hallam in the quarter-finals of the NCEL League Cup on Wednesday evening, but the game was called off due the Locomotives’ likely disqualification from the competition.
A cup-tied player, believed to be defender Sam Denton, featured for former side Handsworth Paramore in an earlier round, leaving the men from Station View facing the boot.
Ironically, skipper Denton has this week left the club to join Premier Division rivals Pickering Town’s title challenge.
The centre-half, who was signed by former boss Beesley from Handsworth in December, played his last game for the club at Worksop.
But Denton departs Station View with the “blessing” of chairman Northfield.
“Pickering’s manager Paul Marshall came in for Sam, but with so many of the first- team players unavailable for the trip to Worksop we asked him if he would stay and play one more game,” Northfield explained.
“We knew that we were going to have to field a number of our under-18s squad, so having a player of Sam’s experience there to guide them was a massive help.
“Credit to him, and the other senior players who were fit enough to play, for turning up and supporting our young lads, and the club.
“Sam and I go back a long way and it’s a shame to see him depart, but that’s football, players come and go and he leaves for Pickering with my blessing.”