Seb Hayes, the new manager of Huntingdon Town, says it will be a “massive challenge” following Ricky Marheineke, who has left the club to become Brian Page’s assistant at Histon.

Marheineke had been mulling over the offer from the Conference North side for more than a month before informing his chairman Paul Hunt of his intention to leave last week. For continuity's sake, his assistant Hayes was the obvious choice to replace him.

"It's a weird one," said 38-year-old Hayes. "You don't often get to take over when a team is fourth in the table and have been defeated just once in 14 games.

"Some people have said I am mad because how do you follow Ricky? There's not much more that you can do. He has had non-stop success at Huntingdon Town and it is a massive challenge to follow him."

Hayes told The Hunts Post that he and coach Paul Swannell, who was the former manager's right hand man throughout the two-and-a-half years Marheineke was at the helm, had "a meeting which became an interview" with the chairman on Thursday and player Ricky Dear was brought on board on Friday to become Hayes's assistant. Swannell will now be the head coach and provide a link between the first team and Huntingdon's youth teams. Meanwhile, Hayes says it is unlikely there will be any changes to the playing staff with all of the current squad eager to continue their great start under the new manager.

"We must respect the past but we must not dwell on it," said Hayes, who lives in Yaxley and has had coaching experience with Norwich City, Kettering Town, Blackstones and Peterborough Northern Star, as well as managerial experience in the United Counties League with Thrapston Town.

Huntingdon's only defeat of the UCL Premier Division this season came in Marheineke's last game in charge when Wellingborough Town beat them 3-2 on Saturday and Hayes will take charge of the team for the first time on Saturday when Huntingdon play Thetford Town at home in the first round proper of the FA Vase. Wednesday night's UCL game against Newport Pagnell Town was postponed.

Hayes said: "I think that defeat [against Wellingborough] had been coming. We have had injuries galore and picking up results while losing form.

"It was disappointing to lose Ricky's last game but we will now move forward and as a group and try to build on all the good things that Ricky did at the the club."