LANCASTER City boss Tony Hesketh is to take at least three months off as he needs hip surgery.
Dolly Blues chairman Mick Hoyle, who has had several spells as caretaker boss during his time at the club, will take over as manager.
He will supported by Barrie Stimpson, who only came back to the club this summer as Hesketh’s assistant, and returning former City captain Michael Stringfellow, who will also play.
Hoyle said: “It made sense for me to take over as I’ve done it before and we want to keep the job open for Tony as, when and if he wants it.
“We want him back and hopefully things can fall back into place when he’s fit and ready.”
Hesketh told the Lancaster Guardian: “I’m feeling terrible. I’ve got an operation booked in for July 25 and am signed off work for three months.
“I had a hip replacement 10 or 12 years ago and it seems it has come to the end of its life so I’m out of action.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes but the club is in good hands.
“Barrie Stimpson has a lot of experience at this level and Michael Stringfellow will help with the coaching.
“The team has been put together quickly and they have some decisions to make but I’m sure things will run smoothly.”
The City squad return to training tonight, Thursday, ahead of their opening pre-season game against Dundee at the Giant Axe this Saturday, July 7.
And Hoyle has thrown out an open invitation to anyone who wants to come to City’s training sessions at 7pm on Tuesday and Thursday next week.
He said: “If any players locally, of any age, feel they have the ability to play at this level then this is their chance.
“The Dundee game has perhaps come a bit quick for us, but then we have 10 days until the Stockport game where we can pick up the pieces.”
* The club have appointed Mark Knight as their U18 manager.
Training starts on Wednesday, August 18 at 7pm with interested players welcome to attend.