Matthew Etherington: Colchester United confirm interim boss as head coach

Colchester United have confirmed interim boss Matthew Etherington as their new head coach.

The 42-year-old had been a youth coach at the club but was put in charge after the sacking of Ben Garner last month.

The former Stoke City and West Ham winger had a 32-day spell as Crawley Town boss last year before resigning.

Saturday's 1-1 draw with Sutton United meant Colchester have taken 10 points out of 12 since Garner's departure and are now 16th in League Two.

"I needed to think about taking the job, some people might not believe that, but that's just me being honest," Etherington told BBC Essex Sport.

"It was definitely a temporary basis when Ben left. We had a conversation at the start of this week and with the way things have gone I was delighted to take it.

"I'm a realist, I know what football is all about, I've been in the game since I was 15 years old. There'll be bumps in the road ahead but I'm sure there'll be plenty of positives as well.

"There are the ingredients here for this club to be successful. That's genuinely how I feel in my gut."

Etherington was made interim boss on 23 October but, after overseeing a 3-2 win at Grimsby in his first match, he was unable to sit in the dugout for the following game against Accrington after Crawley claimed he was still under contract to them.

He was reinstated as interim boss at the end of last month, after U's owner Robbie Cowling carried out a "thorough review" of the contractual situation with Crawley - and Etherington said it was now "all sorted".

Having taken the Colchester Under-21s job in the summer, he believed a return to a head coach role would be "a year or two down the line".

But Etherington's first game as permanent boss will be a trip to League Two leaders Stockport County on Saturday.

"There'll be different questions asked this weekend, and next weekend, but it's down to us as a staff, as a team, together collectively, to figure out those problems," he said.

Details of Etherington's contract have not been disclosed, but Colchester sporting director Dmitri Halajko said: "Matty has had a good response from the players and his league points return has been excellent as interim head coach.

"He will now have the opportunity on a full-time basis and will have the full support at everybody at the club as we look to continue climbing up the league table."

Analysis - 'U's need stability'

BBC Essex Sport's Glenn Speller

There is no surprise here. Matthew Etherington's audition for the job produced three wins from four League Two matches, in which they picked up 10 points. That is Colchester's best run of form since April.

He must find the recipe to maintain that sort of form and halt the losing culture which has dogged the club for nearly three years.

The U's fans will hope he can build something more concrete and stop the revolving door of head coaches, which has seen six depart in just over three years and not helped the stability of the club.

The former West Ham winger had a short, difficult spell at Crawley and will want to prove he has the skills to make a success of being a head coach.

He has a tough baptism in permanent charge, away to leaders Stockport followed by a home game against play-off chasing Barrow. Get something from those games and Colchester might have just turned the corner.