Chris Lucketti is ready to lead Fleetwood Town on a game-by-game basis but admits his troops have been left “shellshocked” by Graham Alexander’s sudden exit.
Lucketti’s close friend was sacked as manager on Wednesday and his assistant Lucketti was yesterday asked by chairman Andy Pilley to take temporary charge while Town begin the hunt for a new permanent boss.
It’s a job the 44-year-old former centre-half is prepared to take on but he admits it’s been a difficult time for all involved.
There was a subdued atmosphere at Fleetwood’s Poolfoot Farm training complex yesterday, with players clearly shaken by the pace of events since Tuesday’s 5-1 defeat at Gillingham.
“It’s been difficult and it’s still sinking in,” said former Preston captain Lucketti, who will manage in the Football League for the first time at Scunthorpe tomorrow.
“It came as a massive shock when I spoke to Graham on Wednesday. It still is, if I’m honest. I presume he didn’t feel his job was under pressure – he certainly didn’t say anything to me.
“The players are disappointed. They feel they’ve let the manager down and a lot of the younger players probably haven’t been through anything like this before.
“Some of them are shellshocked and probably don’t know how to feel.”
Despite intense speculation over who will take over, Lucketti insists his focus is only on the short term and ending a slump which has seen Town take just three points from six games.
He added: : “It’s difficult but it’s a job I’ve been asked to do by the chairman on a game-to-game basis. I’ll do that to the best of my ability.
“The lads have a duty to the club to perform and they have a duty to themselves. I’ll be making sure they perform as well as they can but I won’t look beyond the weekend.”
Lucketti and Alexander were team-mates at Preston and coached together in the Deepdale youth set-up.
However, Town’s temporary boss accepts there’s no room for emotion in football.
“Things can change quickly. Everybody in the industry knows that, he said. “Myself and Graham knew it when we came here.
“We know situations like this do come and we know it’s part of the job.
“This is a situation I didn’t think I’d be in but I’ll try to do my best for the club.
“We need to make sure we’re right and we’re positive. We need to put an end to the rot.
“We need passion, desire and commitment. We need everyone fighting for the cause.”
Town head to Glanford Park still in the throes of a defensive crisis.
Conor McLaughlin was among those forced into action on Tuesday despite not being fully fit.
And those problems look like growing worse before they improve, with Eggert Jonsson suspended after being sent off in the closing stages in Kent.
Lucketti admits the lengthy list of casualties has made life tough. “It’s difficult to put your finger on one thing but the injuries haven’t helped us,” he said.
“We have had injuries in key positions ,and rushing them all back on Tuesday when some weren’t ready certainly didn’t help.
“But we can’t use that as an excuse. They’re being patched up as we speak. We’ll just have to see who is available and take it from there.”
Town are understood to have received a sizable number of applications for the manager’s job.
The early favourite with the bookmakers is former Rotherham boss Steve Evans.
However, odds have been significantly shortened on Paul Dickov, the ex-Doncaster and Oldham boss, with Blackpool hero Ian Holloway, out of work since leaving Millwall in March, also attracting interest among the bookmakers.