CARL Davies has been appointed player-manager of Bracknell Town until the end of the season following the club’s surprising decision to sack joint managers Jeff Lamb and Paul McGrotty on Monday morning, writes Dave Wright.

Geoff Warner returns to Larges Lane as assistant manager, a role he occupied with Mark Tallentire earlier this season.

Tallentire left by “mutual consent” last September and was replaced by former Ascot United duo Lamb and McGrotty. Derek Sweetman, who was their coach, has also left the club.

As with Tallentire, the axing of Lamb and McGrotty came as a huge shock to Bracknell fans.

It came less than two days after the Robins had been knocked out of the FA Vase, losing 3-0 to competition favourites Markse United in the quarter finals at Larges Lane.

Lamb and McGrotty said they were left “gutted and very disappointed” with the former adding: “I don’t think we had done a lot wrong.”

He and McGrotty were informed by email, which didn’t please either of them, but Robins chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse claimed that was the most effective way to communicate with them.

He explained: “They are extremely difficult to reach on the phone. I am really surprised by their reaction to this news as they have openly tried to resign in the past. Three weeks ago they admitted to the board they had no affinity to the club.”

He added: “We get nothing from dwelling on the past and we now move on. My priority is the future and we are now focussing on that.”

While Steinborn-Busse admitted it was a “tough decision” to part company with the duo, Saturday’s defeat does not appear to be the reason for the sackings.

He would not go into details, but a source close to the club claimed the chairman had become concerned after hearing of alleged differences of opinion between the management team and the players in recent weeks.

It is also understood club directors were unhappy with the way the team was set up for last Saturday’s tie with TJ Bohane playing up front by himself while leading scorer Adam Cornell was left on the bench until the last 30 minutes, by which time the game was all but over.

Lamb and McGrotty had used a similar formation with success in the past, but it failed to come off against Marske in what was regarded as the biggest game in Bracknell’s 122-year history.

The Robins played well in the first half and missed chances to take an early lead before conceding a goal shortly before half time.

But in the second half, they were made to look second best by the Yorkshire side in front of a bumper crowd of 1,142, including Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association.

Steinborn-Busse had brought in former Ascot United trio Lamb, McGrotty and Sweetman late last September after he had surprisingly parted company with Tallentire, stating the pair did not share the same views on team matters. Warner, a highly respected coach, departed shortly afterwards.

Tallentire, regarded as the club’s most successful ever manager after finishing runners-up to Thame United in the league and winning three cup competitions last season, left after a 3-0 loss to Thatcham. He was also among the spectators last Saturday.

Since Lamb and Co took over, the Larges Lane club have suffered only two further Premier Division league defeats, 3-2 at Wantage and 1-0 away to title rivals Highworth.

They remain in the title race, although with a lot of ground to make up. The fifth-placed Robins have 59 points with 13 games remaining, while Highworth are on 79 with seven matches left, including one at Bracknell on April 2.

Also in contention are Thatcham, who are on 74 points with eight fixtures to go. But the Kingfishers could now be distracted by the Vase, as they have their sights on Wembley after reaching the semi-finals.

Thatcham embarked on a 20-match winning run immediately after they had signed goal ace Liam Ferdinand from Bracknell, who was third in the pecking order behind Bohane and Cornell.

Steinborn-Busse, who has ambitious plans for the club’s long-term future, regarded the Vase run as a bonus, but said their priority from day one has been winning the Hellenic League and gaining promotion to the Southern League.