MELKSHAM Town caretaker manager Luke Ballinger described the unique situation of attempting to pull a team together on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning in the wake of Kieran Baggs’ resignation as first-team manager, writes JONATHAN LEIGHFIELD.

Baggs resigned from his post in the early hours of March 29 after posting a short statement on social media, which noted differences of opinion between himself and members of the board as one of the key reasons behind his exit.

With several senior first-team players also leaving, Ballinger was forced to spend his Friday and first part of Saturday dipping into Melksham’s other teams in order to field a side in their Southern League Division One South match at home to AFC Totton.

Town ultimately lost the match 3-0, but the former assistant manager was immensely proud of the hastily-sewn-together 10 players that featured.

Ballinger said: “It’s important that people know, Friday was a very long day, in terms of getting a side together.

“With players not wanting to play, I had to go down to the U18s and a few of the reserve boys and that was difficult in terms of players being signed on in time etcetera.

“I did have a team on Saturday morning, but then I had a couple more pull out, so that made it very difficult.

“But the boys that did play on Saturday were outstanding in terms of their effort and application.”

Several U18s were drafted into the squad at short notice and the caretaker boss says those players are likely to be afforded the chance to develop in the first team for as long as he is in charge.

And with the chances of securing a play-off spot all but over, Melksham’s next permanent manager is unlikely to be appointed until the season has finished – a period of just five games.

Ballinger said: “We had a game plan to try and keep them out – and it worked. We got done on three set-pieces and that comes down to Totton being a big side and having a bit more experience.

“It’s a learning curve for those inexperienced lads and I’m sure they’ll take what happened and be better players for it going forward.

“Overall, I’m very, very pleased with how the boys conducted themselves.

“There are a few conversations I need to have with certain players and some players want to come back – which is fine – but I have told the players that were involved on Saturday that they will be with me for the rest of the season.”