Salisbury manager Darrell Clarke named Bristol Rovers assistant

Darrell Clarke

Manager Darrell Clarke has left Salisbury City to become John Ward's assistant at Bristol Rovers.

Ex-Hartlepool and Mansfield midfielder Clarke had been in charge of the Whites since 2010, having ended his playing career with the non-League club.

The 35-year-old helped them return to the Conference Premier in May - their second promotion in three years.

"I leave Salisbury with a heavy heart. I've had six fantastic years here," Clarke told BBC Wiltshire.

"But the opportunity to go and work with John at Bristol Rovers was too good to turn down.

"I'm looking forward to my new challenge but it's also a sad day for me."

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Clarke welcomes Rovers challenge

Ward had been looking for a new assistant after is was decided Shaun North would not be given a new deal.

Ward, who is in his second spell as Pirates boss, is reshaping his backroom team after agreeing a new 12-month rolling contract at the Memorial Stadium in April.

"I have never worked with him before, which is exciting for me, as he is going to push me as well as himself," said the 62-year-old.

"He has had experience playing at this level with Mansfield and Hartlepool, so that will be beneficial.

"He is young, with lots of ambition, but he also brings with him plenty of experience. I look forward to working with him."

Clarke signed for Salisbury in 2007 and was club captain when they suffered a double demotion in 2010 as punishment for financial problems.

Then boss Tommy Widdrington left to join the staff at Southend and Clarke was made player-manager.

He led them to promotion via the play-offs the following season and they went on to secure a third-round FA Cup tie with Sheffield United in 2011-12 season.

The Whites were victorious in this year's Blue Square Bet South play-off final against Dover and will play in non-League's top tier next term.