FORMER Football League player Duane Darby has been tasked with the job of saving Redditch United from Southern Premier Central relegation.
The vastly experienced Darby has taken the reins ahead of Saturday’s visit to Peterborough Sports having replaced Ian King as manager in midweek.
King endured a torrid time as Reds boss and was relieved of his duties on the back of Saturday’s 2-0 FA Trophy third qualifying round defeat at Matlock Town.
The Reds issued a short statement thanking King for his efforts and wishing him well for the future before announcing Darby as the man chairman Chris Swan and Co hope can spark a revival.
Darby, no stranger to these parts having played for Redditch’s league rivals Alvechurch, Hednesford Town and Nuneaton Borough, was also manager at Bromsgrove Rovers and was briefly in charge at Cradley Town.
At Football League level, Birmingham-born Darby, now 46, amassed more than 400 senior appearances and scored more than 100 times at clubs including Hull City, Doncaster Rovers, Notts County and Shrewsbury Town.
However, it was at Rushden & Diamonds where Darby made the biggest impact as he helped them win promotion to the Football League and won himself a league golden boot in 2001.
Darby, who was set to announce his backroom team as the Standard went to press, said: “I am really looking forward to the challenge. We have a plan to get this club moving forward again and this will see us engage more with the fans to create a style of football they want to see and put some much-needed points on the board.
“We’re very aware of the talent within the current squad and our league position could have been very different had some of the narrow results swung our way.
“We’ve identified a handful of new players we’d like to speak to over the next week and the Reds fans should be seeing some exciting new additions announced very soon.
“I am keen to work as a manager, not just with the first team, but to help the whole club develop. I am very eager to engage with the club’s academy and reserve set-up to develop players from within the club. This is exactly what a club like ours should be doing.”
Swan added: “I am very excited to announce Duane as our new manger. When we met it was clear Duane had a drive and passion that will be infectious to us all.
“At this point in the season we now need to fight for every point and I am very confident Duane can set our dressing room up to push us higher up in the league over the coming months.”
Darby’s first home game will be Tuesday’s visit of Southern League Division One South outfit Cirencester Town in the League Challenge Cup last 16 before a vital league home game against bottom side Leiston a week on Saturday.
Before that, this weekend the second-bottom Reds – four points below the safety line with a game in hand on the Alvechurch team in that position – face a tough test at a Peterborough Sports side who sit seventh.