Hullbridge Sports have appointed Darren Manning as first team manager after Rob Hodgson stepped down on Saturday.

Manning worked closely with Hodgson and (former assistant manager) Aaron Hunwicks in his time as reserve team manager, before moving on to the position of Grays number two.

With two fixtures against Great Wakering Rovers coming up as well as clashes against Ilford, Waltham Forest and Southend Manor coming up, Manning is preparing for something of a baptism of fire - with Sports second from bottom in the Essex Senior League.

"While being extremely disappointed with the decision made by Rob and Aaron Hunwicks," said Hullbridge chairman Trevor Lammas.

"I fully appreciate their reasoning behind it, and go on record stating that they have done an absolute sterling job in managing the side while still being forced to play 90 minutes most weeks due to a poor run of extended squad injuries.

"The club and I would be very happy if both were to stay on in a playing capacity, but sadly that decision is out of our hands.

"I am also extremely pleased to confirm the appointment of Darren Manning as first team manager and look forward to working with him on reviewing our structure and development plans for taking this club forward."