East Preston Football Club are searching for a new manager following Paul Ettridge’s decision to resign as head coach last week.
Ettridge took his first role in senior management by taking over at EP last summer but found things tricky at The Lashmar and could only guide his side to a second from bottom finish.
In a tricky campaign, East Preston collected just three wins all season as they were relegated from the Southern Combination League Premier Division.
It has been a rapid drop for EP who won the league just two seasons ago but Ettridge said player unavailability was a key factor behind him stepping down.
He said: “It was a really tricky season for myself and assistant Malcolm Metcalfe.
“We called a meeting with the club and decided to go our separate ways last week.
“Looking at it, it was just such a struggle to get players to commit and field a team every week.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be as tough as it was but it was a massive learning curve for myself and Malcolm.”
When Ettridge took charge last summer, he had no first-team players signed on, while the club had no reserve or under-18 side in place.
Ettridge felt it was a struggle with limited resource and added: “It was such a struggle at times and it didn’t help with no reserve or under-18 team in place.
“I found myself working hard just to make sure we could field teams week-in, week-out.
“I’m taking nothing away from the team, though, the ones that we had are good young players who worked hard.
“Myself and Malcolm had a discussion a few weeks before the season ended but leaving then would have been the easy option.
“We both felt that leaving then would have left the club in some trouble so we decided to stay on until the end of the season.”
Despite such a tricky first step into senior management, Ettridge feels it will be a season he can take something from.
He said: “It was so difficult at times but I still enjoyed the job. Maybe I wasn’t expecting players to find it so difficult to commit every week.
“But the club have some really talented players and I think they could do well in the league below next season.
“A lot of them were really young guys just starting out and going in at a tough level.
“That will only make them better players and help them in the future.”
EP chairman Terry Doyle thanked Ettridge for his work with the club over the course of the campaign.
He said: “I’d like to thank Paul for his effort and appreciate his work over the course of the campaign.
“I think if you look at our league position and the wins we collected, a change was going to be inevitable.
“We said we’d give Paul one season and we did that, we are close to reaching an agreement with a new manager and hopefully he will be in place next week.”
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