Ex-Sunderland and Hartlepool defender reacts after taking managerial role at Gateshead

Ben Clark has taken temporary charge of Gateshead
Ben Clark has taken temporary charge of Gateshead

Former Sunderland and Hartlepool defender Ben Clark is set to take temporary charge at Gateshead - and has urged supporters to get behind his side during his caretaker spell.

The Heed saw popular manager Steve Watson depart yesterday, with the former Newcastle defender and his assistant Micky Cummins departing for York City,

And Clark - who previously spent a caretaker spell in charge of the club in 2015 - had no hesitation about taking the reigns on a temporary basis.

He is expected to lead the side into their National League clash with big-spending Salford City next weekend and has urged supporters to continue backing the side.

A former centre back, Clark ended his career at the International Stadium after spells at both Sunderland and Hartlepool United.

And he is now delighted to be continuing his positive relationship with Gateshead by taking charge of the first-team - albeit on a temporary basis.

"I've got a good relationship with the football club," he admitted.

"I know all the players, so it's about getting behind them now.

"There will be a lot of fans disappointed. I'm disappointed, and rightly so.

"But listen, we have to get behind the players.

"They've done fantastic this season, they're a young bunch and I believe they can get better.

In the short-term, Clark has allowed his side some time off with the Heed not in action this weekend.

But when the players return to training on Monday, he is keen to build-up the preparation ahead of a tricky test against promotion hopeful Salford.

"We'll come in again on Friday - obviously we don't have a game this weekend so it's probably come at the right time," he told the club's official website.

"I've told the lads we will give them the weekend off.

"I want them to go and enjoy themselves with their wives and partners and have a good weekend.

"We'll reassess things on Monday."

"It gives us a good ten days and we can work on things.

"We're playing Boreham Wood the week after, so I'm going to go to their game at the weekend.

"There's a lot preparation and work to do, but I want everyone to get behind the football club and the players and support them."