Josh Staunton has said his Yeovil Town team-mates will “give their best” for the final game of the season when they travel to Altrincham on Sunday.
The midfielder finds himself in the unusual position of leading the team as caretaker manager following the sudden departure of previous caretaker, Charlie Lee, on Friday.
will be assisted by club captain Luke Wilkinson and sports scientist Scott Wickens for the trip to Greater Manchester.
Speaking ahead of the game, Staunton admitted his appointment was the latest chapter in a roller-coaster campaign on and off the field, he said: “It’s the way the season has been, we’ve just got to give it our best on Sunday, there’s not really much more I can say.
“It is going to be a season to look back on and there will be some book deals ready to go – it’s just another strange turn of events which has happened this year and probably led to why we are where we are in the league.
“If you had spoken to me at the beginning of this season, I definitely didn’t see it ending this way.
“But, it’s important we go out there and show the fans we are still in it even though everything is being thrown all over the place at the moment.
“It is a chance for us to put on a show and say thanks to the supporters who have stuck by us even through some really low points this year.
“Especially away from home, the support has been excellent and they have stuck by us.”
He added that he expected to be leaning on the team’s senior professionals, including Wilkinson, defender Mark Little and strikers Reuben Reid and Adi Yussuf, for their support in the final game and added that Matt Percival, who has been coaching the club’s Under-18s side, would also be helping out.
Staunton added: “When things like this happen, it is very easy for things to get silly, so I will be asking them for their commitment for three more days and to treat it like there’s a senior manager in place.
“I am not going to suddenly become an ‘iron fist manager’ because I am still one of the players, but I will take the responsibility and I know everyone will do everything as professionally as we can, even though things don’t look that professional from the outside.”
Staunton sent his thanks to Charlie Lee whose departure was announced by a club statement at midday on Friday – just 30 minutes before Staunton was up before the media.
In the statement, the club said Lee had departed with immediate effect “his decision to not continue as part of our coaching staff” under a new manager.
He said: “Charlie is a one of a kind, we saw that when he was a player and he came back in and took the reins at a difficult time when Darren (Sarll) left and he did well.
“The boys really enjoyed playing for him and we were probably playing a more attacking style of football, he had the full backing of all the player and it is sad to see him go because he did really well.
“I feel I have to say thankyou for what he did for me personally when I was injured and getting back fit, and for every player in that dressing room who enjoyed working under him.
“Together with Jody (Brown, Lee’s temporary assistant), they have been really uplifting spirits at a difficult time for the club.
The club’s statement confirming Lee’s departure said they expected to appoint a new manager next week and Staunton admitted that he hoped the contract situation with players would be resolved quickly.
As far as we are aware, only defender Morgan Williams and now youngster Ollie Haste have contracts beyond the end of the current campaign – although chairman Scott Priestnall did suggest that the club has options on other player’s contracts.
The chairman had said that offers had been made to some out of contract players, but Staunton said that he had only had “early, early talks” with the club.
He added: “It is very difficult because until there was a manager decided because, like any other player, I don’t know if (the new manager) will like you so it’s hard to have serious talks until they are in place.
“That will now happen for the whole squad early next week once the manager is appointed and plans will start being put in place for next season.
“It is important for everyone involved in the club to start looking forward to next season, an uplifting thing, and the situation (with contract) is down to what the manager thinks.”