Question marks are hanging over the future of Hemel Town’s management situation after the Tudors’ six-game unbeaten run was emphatically ended in the space of four days.
Last Tuesday night saw Hemel miss out on the chance to face League Two outfit Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park in the FA Cup first round-proper after they were routed 5-0 at Oxford City in a final qualifying round replay.
That was followed on Saturday by an ignominious 3-0 loss at mid-table side Eastbourne Borough, a team Hemel has coped with handily in recent seasons.
That defeat dropped Hemel to 16th place in the National League South table.
Sources at the club now say there have been ‘things happening’ on the management front and that the team has received a bevy of interest from potential new bosses.
The club has been without a permanent manager since Dean Brennan and his assistant Stuart Maynard left in mid-September to join fellow National League South side Billericay Town, who are now in second place in the table.
Skipper Jordan Parkes and veteran defender Darren Ward were initially placed in dual caretaker management roles, before Parkes took sole charge earlier this month.
In a perfectly amicable move, Ward is still with the team and was made captain for two of the past three matches.
Club chairman Dave Boggins has been on holiday for a few weeks but is now back.
Sources believe an announcement could be made in the comings days.
Any switch would likely have to wait a few days as the Tudors are hosting 12th-placed Slough Town in a league clash at Vauxhall Road tonight (Tuesday).
In an interview with Tudors super-fan Colin Perreira the previous week, Parkes seemed enthusiastic and willing to carry on as the Tudors boss, but recent results and his lack of management experience might mean the 29-year-old is passed over for a more experienced hand who can put the club back into the playoff mix.
Parkes said: “I’m loving the current role as player-manager and think that I am balancing both roles well alongside running JP Pro Football [coaching] and seeing my family.”
He added: “I’ve always wanted to be involved in managing and coaching as I love the coaching and development of players. I didn’t predict that I would be involved at 29, as I certainly have quite a few years left playing, but when opportunities arise I’m not one to shy away.
“A lot of people have said that it’s tough to be player-manager, but I’m prepared to work hard and prove people wrong.”
Last Tuesday’s FA Cup replay exit to Oxford was a tough blow after Hemel had led the tie 1-0 at Vauxhall Road the previous Saturday thanks to a Phil Roberts strike, only for City to equalise via a lucky own goal with 18 minutes remaining to force a replay.
Tuesday’s 5-0 result didn’t fully reflect the nature of the game. City came out of a cagey first-half with a 1-0 lead after Reece Fleet’s scrappy effort in the 20th minute and City struggled to assert themselves after the break until Rob Sinclair doubled the lead just before the hour. Efforts from Craig Fasanmade, Kyran Wiltshire, and another from Sinclair in the closing 20 minutes gave an air of comfort to an otherwise hard-earned tie.
On Saturday, the Tudors’ struggles on the road continued when they shipped another three goals to Eastbourne Borough. Last season Hemel managed the Sussex side comfortably, beating them 2-0 away and 3-0 at Vauxhall Road.
But this time it was Borough who came out with a straight forward victory. They opened the scoring after just four minutes through Alfie Rutherford and he netted his second only four minutes after the half-time interval.
Rutherford completed his hat-trick on 72 minutes to seal Hemel’s fate.
This Saturday Hemel have another tough league outing on the road at third-placed Bath City, a team Hemel have struggled to break down in the past two seasons in league and cup encounters.