Amicable exit ends Watson era

EVO-STIK Northern Premier League Premier Ilkeston FC and manager Andy Watson have parted company by mutual agreement.

Watson left the New Manor Ground on Wednesday having arrived last summer as number two to former head coach Gavin Strachan. When Strachan departed for Doncaster Rovers in October to team up with Darren Ferguson, the 56-year-old former Leeds United, Aberdeen and Hiberian midfielder took the helm and subsequently led the Robins to seven straight wins.

Following an indifferent run of results during December and January, the Robins suffered nine defeats in a row, the run of reverses coinciding with the release of eight of the EVO-STIK NPL Premier Division club's first-team squad.

Despite their poor league form, Watson led his side to the semi-finals of the Intrego Doodson League Cup, and having guided them to wins in three out of their last four league outings, leaves with the Robins heading into the final day of the season in 14th place.

In a club statement, officials emphasised the amicable nature of the parting. "All at Ilkeston FC thank Andy for his contribution this season, sometimes under difficult circumstances," said a spokesman. "The club wishes to make clear that we part ways on good terms and Andy will remain a much respected figure in our history."

The Robins, who end their season at Ramsbottom United on Saturday, expect to make an announcement on Watson's successor in the next 24 hours.

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