ASHTON United managerial duo Paul Phillips and Steve Halford have resigned as they prepare to take on a new role at Stalybridge Celtic.

The National League North club are without a manager since Liam Watson resigned last week.

Goalkeeper Phillips will still play for United on Saturday in the FA Cup first qualifying round tie against Nantwich Town, with the pair linking up with their new squad on Monday.

United have placed squad players Will Haining and Jody Banim in charge on a caretaker basis as they seek a replacement for Phillips and Halford.

Phillips was appointed in 2013 and brought in Halford to form a formidable partnership at non-league level.

“We hope we can put this club back where it belongs, as one of the elite non-league clubs,” Phillips said.

“We will both leave no stone unturned to achieve this goal. There is no quick fix, but we will be working 24/7 to firstly stabilise and then push on as one.”

The Robins secured play-off finishes in the last three campaigns but, having reached the final in 2014, they have suffered semi-final heartache to local rivals Curzon Ashton and Salford City – both of which went on to secure promotion.

Celtic are currently 20th in the National League North having lost their last six games; they have won just once this season having beaten Boston United 1-0 on the opening day.

Club chairman, Rob Gorski, confirmed that the Greater Manchester side had received applications from the US as well as across Europe in countries such as Italy.

But, Gorski added, the Tameside pair were the overwhelming choice of the board.

“[They] stood out,” he said.

“Their hunger, passion and professionalism meant that the whole board was unanimous in wanting them to join.”

By Nathan Salt


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