DUANE Darby has called on Cradley Town’s players to impress him after taking over as manager.

The former Bromsgrove Rovers boss was named the new Hammers manager on Monday, before taking charge of Tuesday night’s 3-2 Midweek Floodlit Cup quarter-final defeat at Coventry Copsewood.

Cradley’s Beeches View Avenue ground is a familiar sight to the ex-professional, who served as assistant to both Steve Daniels and Adrian Mander, only leaving as recently as December when the latter was sacked.

After speaking with chairman Trevor Thomas, Darby has agreed to take charge until the end of the season and is excited by the challenge.

He said: “Trevor called me and asked if I wanted to take over — I wasn’t expecting the call at all if I’m honest.

“We will take it to the end of the season and see where we go from there.

“I’m looking forward to it. When a new manager takes over there is always a bit of rebuilding but every player will get their chance with me.

“It’s up to them to impress. If they all give 100 per cent I will be happy with that.”

Cradley will be hoping Darby’s appointment brings some calm after a turbulent spell which followed the sacking of Mander and the departure of his replacement Andy Mole after just 32 days in charge.

For Darby it’s another chance to try his hand at management, after his reign at Bromsgrove Rovers was severely hampered by the club’s financial plight.

He has wasted no time in bringing back midfielder Karl Gardner from Dudley Town following his summer move, while striker Jemiah Richards has also arrived.

A goal 10 minutes from time saw Cradley lose out at Copsewood, though Darby was pleased with the performance.

He said: “At 2-2 I felt we really should have pushed on and won the game.

“But it gave me an opportunity to see the players and has given me an idea of what I need to do.”

Cradley host Wellington on Saturday, only their second West Midlands Premier fixture since December 1, before hosting bottom side Darlaston Town on Tuesday night.