Caretaker boss Buckland wants YM job full-time

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PETER Buckland says he would be interested in the Horsham YMCA manager’s job on a long-term basis if it is offered to him.

The former Dorking boss was put in charge of YM for the remainder of the season when Mark Hawthorne quit over the Easter weekend.

And speaking about the potential of taking the job on next season and beyond, Buckland said: “I’m only here until the end of the season but if the club were to offer me the job it would be something I’d be interested in.

“They are very well organised off the pitch with great facilities, it’s just a case of getting things right on the pitch now.

“I was only brought in to help the club and after leaving Dorking I thought I was done with management, but these last few weeks here have really whetted my appetite again.

“I remember not so long ago seeing this club in the Ryman League and I wouldn’t mind taking them back there.”

Buckland was one of the founder members of Dorking Wanderers in 1999 and helped guide them through the West Sussex Football league with five promotions in six years to elevate the club into the County League.

He left to join the coaching staff at Dorking FC in the Combined Counties League, where he then spent a year and a half as manager before leaving the club, and three weeks ago he joined the management staff at YM to help manager Hawthorne steer the club away from trouble.

Hawthorne stepped down ahead of two narrow defeats to Hassocks and Three Bridges over the Easter weekend, citing personal reasons for his departure, and hinting that he sees his future as a coach rather than a manager.

He also backed his replacement to get the job permanently, saying: “Peter has come in and has the chance to get the job next season so I thought it was best for the club if he got to work with the players for the last few games.

“He’s got a history of working at this level and he has the contacts to build a stronger squad.”

YM were unlucky in both 1-0 defeats, missing a penalty at Hassocks on Good Friday and impressing against title-chasing Three Bridges on Easter Monday despite playing for half the game with ten men.

Still the defeats leave the club in very real danger of a second successive relegation. They slipped to third from bottom, the last remaining relegation place in Division One, on goal difference behind Shoreham, with both sides left with just one game to play. Arundel and Ringmer can still mathematically finish third from bottom, though they both have two games to play.

YM now face an agonising three-week wait until they host Crowborough on April 28 in their season-closing fixture, but with Shoreham playing their last match at AFC Uckfield this Saturday they will at least go into the match knowing what is required.

Officially three teams will be relegated from Division One of the County League, though that will depend on a number of factors, including how many teams are eligible for promotion from Division Two, and whether Burgess Hill are relegated into the County League from Ryman South. County League chairman Peter Bentley confirmed that nothing had yet been decided.