Holdsworth quits Robins for Stags

DAVID Holdsworth will be the new manager of Mansfield after a compensation package was agreed with Ilkeston Town.

Senior players will take now over first team matters after Holdsworth's 223-day era ended at the New Manor Ground.

Duties will be shared by former Rotherham United stalwart Paul Hurst and midfielder Rob Scott, who played in two of Fulham's promotion-winning sides assembled by Kevin Keegan.

Both are qualified coaches and were asked to step up by club chairman Denis Harris, who sanctioned Holdsworth's departure to Mansfield Town, who lost their Football League status in the spring.

And Steve Thornton has become director in charge of first team affairs while the club looks at a replacement for Holdsworth.

Mr Harris said: "We have reluctantly agreed to release David and have come to an agreement with Mansfield. We wish him all the best for the future and are very very sad to lose him.

"We have to go forward. Managers come and managers go and we have the most superb set of fans who follow us through thick and thin.

"We will seek a new manager and hope we can achieve more success this season with him."

Mr Thornton said he would be acting in a support role to the two players and said: "We have great faith in the lads who are taking over the football side of things. They have great experience between them.

"We don't want a kneejerk reaction with another manager and want to keep the team together. We don't want to change the balance too much."

The Field Mill job was offered to Holdsworth on Christmas Eve, following an approach the day before as he prepared his side for the Derbyshire Senior Cup trip to neighbours Heanor Town, which ended in victory.

The two clubs were unable to agree a compensation deal until the weekend, leaving Holdsworth still in charge for the Unibond Premier clash with neighbours Matlock Town.

That ended in a draw, which meant that the Robins completed an undefeated final two months of his reign, which began in May shortly after construction chief Chek Whyte took over the club.

As he prepared to leave, Holdsworth thanked the fans for their support and said:"I have been proud to be manager of this football club.

"The supporters are fantastic. That is appreciated by me, the players and all the staff."

He was half way through a one-year contract, which the club had failed to extend although his instant success saw his name linked with managerial vacancies at Football League sides Grimsby Town, Colchester United and Crewe Alexandra as well as Unibond rivals Boston United.

Former defender Holdsworth revamped the Ilkeston squad after replacing former Forest striker Nigel Jemson in May.

His team has the best defensive record in the division and he leaves them just outside the play-off zone, which they have occupied for most of the campaign.

He has guided them into the second round of the FA Trophy, a competition he believes they could win. Blue Square promotion chasers Kidderminster Harriers visit the New Manor Ground on January 10.

In the Derbyshire Senior Cup tie, he gave debuts to several of the brightest talents from Andy Worrall's reserve side and said later: "They are good prospects and I am delighted as manager to have them in my ranks."

After drawing his first league match on August 16, Holdsworth guided his side to four wins, taking the Unibond Premier by storm. The first defeat came in September but only after he had two players sent off and two goals were conceded in the final eight minutes.