Mark McGhee refuses to rule out full-time role at Eastbourne Borough

Eastbourne Borough interim manager Mark McGhee refused to rule out staying at the club for next season after he secured their National League South status.

A battling and dramatic 1-1 draw at Slough on Monday ensured Borough avoided the drop to the Ryman Premier and means the club can begin their preparations for the next campaign.

Whether that plan involves McGhee being at the helm remains to be seen.

“It’s not something I have thought too much about. We had a serious job to do and we still have one match to go and we want to finish the season well. Then we can sit down and speak about what next season will involve.

“I wouldn’t rule it out at this stage. I have enjoyed it and there are good people at the club who are doing things in a very professional way, and that is what we want to build upon – whether I’m here (as manager) or not.

“We will look at ways and plan for next season,” said the Glaswegian.

“I will sit down with the club and look to put things in place that will enable the club to progress and move forward in future.

“But let’s see what happens. At the moment it is a huge relief that we achieved it. It took a little bit longer than we wanted too but we got there and credit to the players for that.”

It was not an easy ride for McGhee. His 10 matches in charge, since taking over from Jamie Howell, yielded four draws and just one victory but the three points came in fine style against Dartford at Priory Lane last Saturday.

“No-one can predict a 6-0 result but the win was coming,” McGhee added. “I kept saying to the lads that the performances were good. Things were going against us and when it continually goes against you, you can begin to lose belief but that never happened to the lads.

“I was speaking to Gordon Strachan and I kept telling him the performances were good but the results were not there yet. You start to sound like you are going mad, so it was great to get that result.

“We remained calm and that’s what I tried to bring to the situation. Sometimes when you are in it, you can’t see the woods for the trees. But we were focussed and calm and that’s what saw us through in the end.”

McGhee also feels improved fitness levels were key to their survival.

“When I first started, we would play for an hour and then we seemed to run out of gas a bit. That’s no criticism of the previous regime. It had been a long season and injuries to certain players at certain times didn’t help.

“Like Charlie Walker for example. It was difficult to get a full 90 from him. First it was an hour, then 75 minutes. Now, Charlie is one player, who I’m sure doesn’t want the season to end. But overall we have seen a great improvement in that area. Even when we went 1-0 down at Slough, I knew we had enough to fight back. Perhaps that wouldn’t have been the case when I first took over.”

Borough will look to finish their season in a positive manner tomorrow when sixth-placed Concord Rangers visit Priory Lane.

“They will be going for the play-offs,” McGhee added. “We went to watch them and they are a big, strong physical side. It has been a long, tough season for some of the players but we want to finish the season with a little unbeaten run.”