STRUGGLING Hyde United have placed Darren Kelly in charge to replace Gary Lowe as first-team manager following recent results.
Lowe was relieved of his duties on Thursday afternoon after the Tigers were humbled 4-0 at home by play-off chasing Ashton United on Easter Monday.
Just hours later, it was announced that former Oldham Athletic and FC Halifax Town boss Kelly will take over for the remaining six games of the season, as the club aim to avoid a third successive relegation.
The Tigers sit 20th in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, just three points above the bottom four.
Lowe returned to Ewen Fields for a second spell in charge, to replace the sacked Scott McNiven, in January 2015 having guided Hyde to the Conference North title in 2012.
But the 56-year-old could not prevent a second consecutive relegation from the sixth tier, with McNiven having overseen their fall from the then Conference Premier the previous season.
Rumours sparked on Twitter within minutes of Lowe’s departure that top scorer Scott Spencer could take on the reins as player-manager.
But the board have opted for Kelly, who has already been in charge of two other clubs this term since ending his 19-year playing career last January to take up a coaching role with Sunderland’s academy.
The 36-year-old Irishman took over at League One Oldham last summer but was sacked after just one win in his first nine games.
In October, he replaced the long-serving Neil Aspin in the hotseat at National League side Halifax but only lasted one game more, with just two victories from 10 matches.
The former Carlisle and York defender will be hoping it will be third time lucky as he seeks to impress the Hyde hierarchy and prove his managerial worth by keeping the Tigers in the seventh tier.
Assistant manager Martyn Booty is staying on and will be joined on the coaching staff by Academy Director Gareth Predergast.
Four of their remaining six league fixtures are at home – where they have won six, drawn five and lost eight of their 19 league outings so far this term.
Hyde – who live one place above the bottom four – have not appeared in the Evo-Stik First Division North since the 2003-04 campaign.
Kelly’s first match at the helm will be against mid-table Frickley Athletic at Westfield Lane on Saturday.
By Nathan Salt and Adam Higgins
@NathSalt1 and @Higgins_Adam95