50-plus interested in Hastings United boss role - but will they promote from within?

Hastings United chief Billy Wood says interim bosses Andrew Brown and Gary Elphick have a chance of taking over from departed Chris Agutter on a permanent basis.

Billy Wood says they don't need to rush the decision on who replaces Chris Agutter
Billy Wood says they don't need to rush the decision on who replaces Chris Agutter

But Wood insists the club won’t rush a decision on who is given the job of trying to lead the Us to the promotion they crave so badly.

Wood, chairman and chief executive at the Pilot Field, said he was ‘disappointed’ at Agutter’s decision to leave at this stage of the season.

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But he said he had sensed over the past couple of week the move might be coming.

And Wood said the managerial change would ‘100 per cent not derail’ the bid to win promotion to the Isthmian premier.

Wood said: “I have enormous respect for what Chris has done for the club in his time here, and nothing will change that.

“But my priority is the club and everyone else who is still at the club. We’re like a big family and while it’s disappointing Chris has moved on, if someone doesn’t want to be part of the football club then it would not be right for them to stay.

“I had a fantastic relationship with Chris but now we look to the future.”

Wood said Brown, who was Agutter’s right-hand man, and his new assistant, experienced defender Elphick would be in interim charge for a minimum of three games – which started with the 4-1 win over Whitstable on Tuesday. And he said the duo were among contenders for the permanent job. But he added: “I’ve had more than 50 people showing interest already.

“We need to take a little time with the decision but for now I’ve massive faith in Andrew, Gary and the players and staff to keep us on track.

“This project has only just started. I’m confident we’ll keep making the progress we have so far.”

Wood said he was heartened by the win against Whistable that came a day after Agutter’s resignation – and by the atmosphere in the ground. “It was the loudest the fans have been all season and I know they’ll continue to support us as they do so well in every match,” he said.

Hastings visit Corinthian for an Isthmian south east clash tomorrow.