Lee Paul has resigned as manager of Hayling United ahead of tomorrow’s Wessex League premier division clash against Hamworthy United at the College Ground (3pm).
Paul did a superb job last season keeping the club in the top flight.
However, he has found it increasingly difficult to devote the time to the task of repeating the feat.
Halfway through the current campaign the Humbugs again find themselves at the bottom and in a fight for survival.
And it is with a heavy heart that Paul has decided to quit.
‘I would love to stay until the end of the season but it looks like it is going to be a busy year ahead for me,’ said Paul.
‘My commitments as a coach of the Portsmouth Academy under-12s are taking up more and more of my time.
‘And I don’t feel I can any longer make the commitment needed at Hayling.
‘It will be a big loss for me, though, after taking over and rebuilding the side last season with the help of Steve Black and Gavin Keogh.
‘We survived on the final day of last season and, with it being equally tough again this season, I would love to have stayed involved.
‘I feel in some ways, though, that I have exhausted all my avenues and some fresh ideas might make a difference. We have already brought Steve Poulton in to work with us, helping him feed into the system.’
A trip across the pond is also on the horizon for busy Paul.
‘It has been a tough challenge but an enjoyable one from my point of view,’ he added.
‘But this year promises to be a big year for me.
‘I’m looking to move back to the United States and do some academy work in Chicago. I spent eight years before coaching in the States and loved it.
‘Hayling are a great little club where everyone mucks in on matchday and I will miss it.’
Meanwhile, Fareham Town will be hoping for a smooth passage across the Solent as they take on Newport at St George’s Park.
Matt Parr’s young side made the perfect start to the new year with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Bournemouth Poppies. And they will be determined to build on it.
‘The win has given my youngsters a huge boost of confidence and it was a just reward for some excellent performances,’ said Parr.
‘Newport are in a similar position to us – rebuilding a team – so it should be a close game.’
In-form Moneyfields travel to take on Lymington Town in the New Forest.
And Horndean face a tricky visit to GE Hamble.