Sami El-Abd has been named as the new manager of league newcomers Bognor Regis Town.
The popular defender will be player-boss and will be assisted by another senior member of the squad, Gary Charman. Darin Killpartrick retains a role as coach.
Twenty-nine-year-old El-Abd, who has links with clubs across Sussex after spells with Crawley Town and Whitehawk, is in his third year at Nyewood Lane and has become a big favourite with fans for his no-nonsense defending, which was a key factor in the Rocks winning promotion from the Ryman Premier last season.
His appointment comes just in time for the start of the club’s pre-season training, which begins this evening.
It’s been seven weeks since manager Jamie Howell stunned Bognor by leaving for new league rivals Eastbourne Borough less than 48 hours after the play-off win over Dulwich Hamlet confirmed promotion to the National League South.
The club have spoken to around nine candidates for the job but have finally settled on appointing from within.
Pearce told the Bognor Regis Observer: “Sami will be player-manager and he will be assisted by Gary Charman and, of course, the rest of the coaching team led by Darin Killpartrick.
“The people we have spoken to about the vacancy, apart from one, did not have experience of being a number one at the level we will be playing at, and one of the strengths of our club in recent seasons has been the team spirit, and we felt an appointment from within was the right way to go.
“This move helps Sami’s development in football and puts a popular figure in charge of the team. We will assist him as a club in every way possible”.