Notts County have turned to their past in order to resolve their future, appointing former player Shaun Derry as their new manager.
Derry, 35, takes his first ever managerial role at the club he left in 1998, and will be assisted by former Carlisle United boss Greg Abbott, as the duo look to haul the Magpies away from the foot of the League One table. Derry joins as a player-coach, with the midfielder still willing to play having recently been on loan at Championship side Millwall.
County chairman Ray Trew understands that Derry is incredibly inexperienced in the world of management, but an extensive playing career could give the former Crystal Palace and QPR midfielder a stroung foundation to build upon.
"When we, as a Board, sat down to identify the credentials that we were looking for in our next manager, we were agreed that we needed someone who understood this club and what it means to our fans," Trew said
"I have to be honest and admit that Shaun wasn't someone that we had thought of initially, but that was only because he was still enjoying a successful career as a player at a higher level. However, when he contacted me to declare an interest in the position, he was an applicant that we simply couldn't ignore.”
Just two wins in County's opening 13 games resulted in Chris Kiwomya being sacked, and whilst some fans had hoped for a more experienced name – such as former manager Neil Warnock – the Meadow Lane side have turned to Derry, whose infectious playing style endeared him to his own fans, but made him a nuisance to the opposition.
Tough tackling and hard working as a player, Derry will encourage his side to fight and scrap for every last point, with County just three points away from safety. The appoint is without doubt a gamble due to Derry's lack of managerial experience, especially with the team in trouble at the foot of the table, but working alongside an experienced figure like Abbott should make the transition from player to manager somewhat smoother.
Derry's job begins with an away trip to Hartlepool in the FA Cup this weekend, before his first league game against fellow strugglers Oldham. Points are needed at Meadow Lane, and whilst fans always take to a former player returning as manager, there won't be much a honeymoon period afforded to Derry.
image: © ingythewingy