Knaresborough Town Reserves marked their first game without Jeff Wells with an emphatic 8-1 victory at Shelf United.
Wells surprisingly left the club on Wednesday (October 29) with Andy Pickles being asked to step in to take charge of the team for their second round West Riding County Challenge Cup encounter on Saturday.
Pickles admitted that his appointment had come ‘out of the blue’ after the favourite to take over Well’s position, Steve Donoghue, decided against taking over at the helm.
Despite the managerial confusion Pickles’ Reserve side ran out comfortable winners against Shelf United and the new manager said he was pleased with the ‘hunger and desire’ his side displayed.
He said: “Jeff resigning was a shock to everyone. He was doing a good job and was over achieving but he had his reasons for leaving. My appointment was out of the blue but I will give it a good go.
“Jeff had to rely a lot on the academy lads so there were some faces at training that I did not know so it was not ideal preparation.
“On Thursday I was quite honest with the lads that I had not expected to be thrown into the role but I didn’t see anything changing because there’s not a lot between mine and Jeff’s ideas on how football should be played.
“The attitude of the lads was great and I was pleased with the way they approached the game. We didn’t take our foot of f the gas and, as I said to them after the game, we were ruthless.”
Pickles’ side had effectively secured their place in third round by half time with goals from James Mcgonagle, Toby Lees and two from Paul Atkinson giving the Reserves a 4-1 lead.
Lees grabbed his second in the second half before Brad Walker scored twice to sandwich Atkinson’s hat-trick goal to complete a memorable day for Pickles.
Pickles said that talks with his new players had been positive following Wells’ exit and said that, despite the managerial change, he could see ‘no reason’ why they could not have a successful season.
He said: “The aim is for the lads to keep enjoying their football in the same way. I don’t want to lose any players and nobody has told me they are looking to leave.
“I’m trying to get a few lads back involved who have been unavailable over the last few months and looking to bring in a few more for competition for places.
“The aim is to stay in the league. We’ve made a great start and I have no concerns about relegation at present providing we keep doing things right.