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Altrincham looking for another new boss after Jim Harvey departure

ALTRINCHAM are looking for their 5th manager of 2016 after the struggling National League North outfit sacked Jim Harvey this week.

The Robins’ board made the decision on Monday with the team 12 points from safety at the bottom of the table after losing their last 6 in the league.

Lee Sinnott brought his 5-year reign to an end in March and his assistant, Neil Tolson was unable to stop the Robins going down from the Vanarama National League. Neil Young was appointed in May but stepped down at the end of August, to be replaced by Harvey.

And although performances initially improved under the ex-Stalybridge Celtic boss, winning their first league games of the season against his former club in October, they haven’t won another since.

Harvey, 58, has been hampered by injuries and was trying to rebuild his squad but, in the meantime, the Alty board were wary of being cut adrift.

Chairman Grahame Rowley said: “In common with most people, we felt we had the right person with the right pedigree to take us forward when we appointed Jim as manager at the beginning of September. From coaching at international level with Northern Ireland, as number two to Sammy McIlroy, to managing in non-league, he had a reputation for getting the best out of teams and players.

“Last season at Halifax, all seemed lost when he got the job, yet he took them to Wembley in the FA Trophy and almost pulled off the great escape in the league, so he seemed the perfect fit for turning round our fortunes.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened, and something had to be done. I accept he took on a very difficult task, but the plain fact is, three months down the line, there is no sign of progress, no sign we are at least heading in the right direction.

“Jim was very disappointed when I told him the news, but when action is needed, it has to be taken. We have been waiting for things to improve, and desperately hoping they might, but there is nothing to suggest our fortunes are about to take a turn for the better.

“There are no green shoots of recovery, which is the least you need to persevere with things as they are and give the manager more time. It hurts to say it, but we are drifting, and, as a board, we simply can’t sit by and allow that to happen.”

Harvey’s assistant manager Matt Doughty took charge of the team for Tuesday night’s FA Trophy clash with Blyth Spartans, in which Jake Moult twice put Alty in front. But Spartans levelled twice before the break to secure a 2-2 draw and a replay in the north east this Saturday.

Doughty is set to have some baptism of fire in the league as the Robins’ next league game is due to be away to Stockport County a week on Saturday (December 17) before they have a festive double-header with FC United.

And the former Alty left-back could end up having a few games at the helm as Rowley insists the club will take their time before naming a new permanent boss.

He added: “This club has a great tradition, with a fighting spirit at the very heart of it, and we want to get that back. That’s why the next appointment is so important. We want to make sure it is the right one, rather than a rushed one. It will be a thorough process, to try to ensure we find someone who can put that fighting spirit out on the pitch.”