Spencer Knight has claimed he decided to bring forward his departure from Harlow Town to aid the club’s battle to beat the drop.

The Hawks confirmed yesterday that Knight had stepped down as manager Danny Chapman’s assistant with immediate effect in the wake of Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at Merstham.

That loss leaves Harlow second bottom of the Bostik Premier Division table, four points behind 19th-placed Wingate and Finchley with just six matches remaining.

Knight said in a club statement: “It has long been my intention to step down at the end of the season to fully pursue my ambitions of becoming a manager in my own right but with recent results and performances I have made this decision with the sole intention of attempting to help the club avoid relegation.

“I think a new voice in the dressing room and new ideas and methods on the training pitch could be the difference and gain the vital few wins that are now desperately needed. I’m sure the club will be inundated with offers from highly qualified coaches and whoever replaces me will join a strong backroom unit.”

Chapman said: “Spencer is at a time in his career where he wants to be a manager and so he should be. He has been professional, dedicated and a loyal assistant and friend over the last five years. He has been a major part of the success that we have brought to the club as a coaching team. He is highly regarded and respected my myself, all the staff and board at the club and most importantly by the players.

“This season has been tough for everyone and after a conversation that we had, we mutually agreed that this decision is right for Spencer and also the football club. I will not rush into a decision to replace Spencer as whoever that person may be, I need to make sure they are right for this football club.”