New Yeovil Town manager Charlie Lee has said he is “up for the challenge” having been thrust in to the first-team manager’s job by the departure of Darren Sarll this week.
He will take charge of the team for tomorrow’s visit to Barnet having led training all week and taken the team through remembering the first anniversary of the death of ex-skipper Lee Collins this week.
Speaking on Friday ahead of the trip, he said: “I’m up for the challenge, it’s a really good opportunity for me to have a go at picking the team and taking the training, it’s a great opportunity and one I am really looking forward too.
“It’s a great group of lads and they are really up for helping me, I will be leaning on the players a lot.
“We are just taking it game by game, I said to the players this week ‘this is where you learn to be winners’, if you want to win anything in your career, you have got to take every game as it comes, you can’t waste anything.
“Some people might think there’s nothing to play for – your playing for yourself, your family, contracts and the fans, who have been brilliant with this group of players all season.
“We owe the club and the fans to make sure we are ready for every game and we will be.”
The former combative midfielder added that he did not expect the team’s style to change from that adopted by Sarll and said he would take the same approach to management as he did as a player.
Hesaid: “I expect players who are playing for me, for however long that is, to work hard and give everything every game and find that bit of quality when it’s needed.
“It has been going really well these last few games and I have been really happy where we are and now we have to not take our foot off the pedal. We have to keep going and be ready for Saturday.”
The new boss said the Glovers’ squad would need the backing of supporters as much as they are ever have done as they start life without Sarll.
He spoke about “everything that has been going on behind-the-scenes” which we interpret as meaning both the loss of Lee Collins but also the uncertainty around the ownership of the club.
Speaking this week, midfielder Josh Staunton admitted the lack of clarity was unsettling for the club’s young squad.
Lee said: “The fans have been unbelievable with me in all my time at the club and the hardest time we had was when they were not in the ground.
“That was heart-breaking because we had built up such a good relationship and we missed them this season.
“The best thing about this season is how well the fans and the players have connected with everything that is going on behind the scenes.
“I would be lying if I said we didn’t need them between now and the end of the season, we are going to need them as much as we ever have. If they keep turning up, we will keep playing as hard as we can.”
Lee admitted he had not been expecting to take up the managerial hot-seat so soon having returned as assistant manager in February.
However, he said he had been looking to get in to coaching ever since he left Huish Park as a player at the end of last season having already completed his coaching qualifications.
Asked whether he saw himself as a contender for the job, permanently he said: “That is something I am not thinking about, at the minute we have to take it game by game and we would be foolish to do anything else.
“I have no idea what the future holds for me in this role, but I know we have a game tomorrow and we have to prepare for it.
“You realise when you have been in the game more than 20 years, things like this happen. You never expect it to be you, but you have to be ready to embrace it when it does happen.”
Asked about Sarll, who quit Huish Park to take up the manager’s job at National League rivals Woking on Monday, Charlie added: “The Gaffer is a great man. What he did at Yeovil people realise but they might not know what he did for the club and players especially.
“The players especially owe him and Terry (Skiverton) and Craig (Wight) a great deal for what they have done in the last year of our lives.
“He will be successful wherever he goes. I will be in touch a lot and we wish him all the luck, that’s all I can say. He should be very proud of what he did in his time at Yeovil.”