Blake looking forward to taking 'leading role' with Rocks

Robbie Blake is taking over as Rocks first-tream coach
Robbie Blake is taking over as Rocks first-tream coach

Former Premier League star Robbie Blake has told of his excitement at taking over as first-team coach at Nyewood Lane.

Blake has left his role as coach with Pompey to take up the position with Bognor, for which he is thankful - and excited about.

He said: ‘I was asked to go down and have a look at it there. It looks like it’s going to be quite a leading role, so hopefully it goes well.

"It’s tough to get in football and you want to stay there, so I’m thankful for the chance with Bognor. It’s a really good club and geographically it works well for me. I’m really hopeful it will work out. I’m settled in the area and I’m happy. It’s a shame to be leaving, but that’s life and you move on."

It's not known yet who he will be working with at Bognor as manager, with Jack Pearce, the current incumbent, the man who has brought Blake in.

There was further good news for the Rocks late on Thursday night when it was announced that midfielder Doug Tuck was staying at Nyewood Lane. Tuck, like defender Corey Heath, had attracted interest from elsewhere but has nailed his colours to the mast for the 2018-19 season.

Meanwhile, it emerged that new coach Blake was told his contract was not being renewed at Fratton Park after his existing deal came to a close, but the 42-year-old explained there were no hard feelings over the decision.

The ex-Premier League striker arrived in 2015 and was part of the coaching team who helped secure the League Two title a year later.

Blake said: "I’m gutted to be leaving, but with me being settled in the area Bognor got in touch and the opportunity there presented itself. There’s no issues. It’s Kenny’s decision at the end of the day and you have to respect that.

"I’ve had three fantastic years here and it’s such a wonderful club. ‘The people at the club, the fans and those around it have been different class with me. I’d like to thank everyone connected with Portsmouth Football Club and really wish them the best moving forward.

"I really believe they can get back into the higher leagues where they deserve to be."