BISHOP’S Cleeve have been rocked by player/assistant manager Michael Jackson’s decision to hang up his boots.
The 33-year-old former Cheltenham Town and Swansea City midfielder has reluctantly taken the decision due to a chance in his working hours.
Postman Jackson will play in tonight’s home match against Thatcham Town and make his final appearance in Saturday’s away match at Didcot Town.
Mitres boss John Brough described the loss of Jackson as a massive blow, on and off the pitch.
“I understand and respect Michael’s decision,” Brough said.
“It’s a big blow for the team on the playing side, but also off the pitch because Michael and I have worked together very well.
“I know that football has to come second at this level and he has to think of his long-term future and do what his employers want, but I am sad to see him go and he will be missed at Cleeve.”
Jackson and Brough’s paths first crossed at Cheltenham Town in the summer of 1998 when Cheltenham signed Brough from Hereford United.
“I have known Michael a long time and we’ve played together, lived together, set up a business together and now worked together at Cleeve,” Brough said.
“I won’t rush into a decision over a new number two and I’ve asked Simon Goodwin, but he’s happy running the reserve team and we need them to be a good side as I am having to call on them for players regularly.
“I have a few other candidates in mind, but I need to discuss it with the chairman (Dave Walker) and I may even advertise the position and see who comes up.”
Cleeve return to action tonight for the first time since their 2-1 victory over Shortwood United on September 7.
Brough was heartened by the performance against their county rivals, when goals from Adam Mayo and Ed Williams earned Cleeve’s second victory of the campaign.
Mayo may only be able to sit on the bench tonight, having started a new course at Hartpury College that means he will struggle to arrive long before kick-off.
But Cleeve will be strengthened by the return of Jake Lee from a broken toe.
Lee played 75 minutes for the reserve team in their 3-3 County League draw with Henbury on Saturday.
Brough is also hoping to be able to call upon former Bredon striker Nick Hill, who has returned from a spell playing in Australia.
“If all the paperwork is completed Nick will be involved and he played well for the reserves on Saturday,” Brough said.
“If Jake can continue where he left off in pre-season before the injury we’ll have a very good striker back, which is a major bonus.
“His fitness isn’t a concern, we just had to let the toe heal and he should be ready to start.”
Full-back Lewis Binns (knee) is out, while centre-half Ryan Paddock is unavailable for midweek games.
Brough is waiting on the availability of his Cheltenham Town work experience youngsters, while he is hoping to extend the loan stays of first year Robins professionals Joe Hanks and Williams.