Lee Clarke is happy to take on the challenge of keeping St Neots Town in the Southern League Premier Division.

Dan Gleeson is the other half of St Neots Town's interim management duo, along with Lee Clarke. Picture: CLAIRE HOWESDan Gleeson is the other half of St Neots Town's interim management duo, along with Lee Clarke. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Clarke, and the other half of the club’s interim management team, Dan Gleeson, endured a miserable start to their tenure last night when Saints were thumped 4-0 by St Ives Town.

While the derby drubbing will no doubt have been an eye-opening experience, it certainly hasn’t put the pair off leading the club’s battle to stay up following the resignation of Andy Davies last weekend.

Clarke, who assisted Davies while recovering from a serious Achilles injury sustained at the end of last season, and Gleeson, who arrived as player-coach earlier this month after being sacked as Cambridge City boss, met with club owner Lee Kearns and director of football Iain Parr ahead of the St Ives loss.

They are relishing the task ahead with Saints one place and one point from safety after failing to win any of their last nine matches in all competitions.

Jonny Hall has left St Neots Town. Picture: CLAIRE HOWESJonny Hall has left St Neots Town. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Clarke said: “The differences between the two teams were clear to see last night. St Ives are flying whereas things are not going away.

“We huffed and puffed in the second half, but the game was already over by then against a team who knew their jobs and did them well from one to 11.

“I’m not going to fault the effort of our lads, but being brutally honest I have to question the ability, understanding and desire to go that extra mile at this level of football in some cases.

“Myself and Dan know the direction the club wants to go in, we know the brief and we are both happy to take that on for the long-term. We are also well aware it is not going to be easy and that things are not going to happen overnight.

“The bottom line is staying up, but not at all costs as it might have been for St Neots Town two or three years ago. The days of this being a big-money club have gone, but that’s not to say we can’t be successful.

“I’m sure there will be players moving on, but we will also be putting approaches in and hopefully can add to the squad. We need a shake-up of personnel in the changing room just as much as we need improvement on the pitch.

“It is understandably a bit flat at the moment after a difficult run. We’ll lick our wounds, but the hard work is already underway and we’ll try to build the boys up to get three points on Boxing Day.”

Saints host Biggleswade in their December 26 fixture, 1pm, and it could be a much-changed squad which takes to the pitch.

Left-back Jonny Hall announced his departure earlier today while transfer-listed centre-back Tom Ward is also expected to complete a move to Premier Division rivals King’s Lynn in the coming days.