“IT is business as usual, we have just got a new manager.”

That is the message Bradford (Park Avenue) director of football Martin Knight wants to convey as he stated Leeds United youth coach Thomas McStravick would replace Alex Cross at the head of the club’s academy.

In June, plans of great expansion were announced for the youth set-up, intertwining with the new facilities at the Horsfall Stadium.

The rebranding included teams at each level from the Under-5s up to the Under-18s, and a new Coerver Coaching philosophy, all led by Cross.

However, the 27-year-old lasted less than six weeks before handing in his resignation, a decision that disappointed Knight and owner Gareth Roberts.

Knight said: “Gareth and I were gutted. We thought he was the right man.

"We spent time talking to him and tried accommodating his frustrations. We felt he was a very talented guy."

Ultimately, Knight feels Cross didn’t fully appreciate the rigours that come with taking a job at non-league level.

He added: “We have to roll our selves up and be a jack of all trades. We are a small club.

“I think he wanted to just coach and not do all the other bits and pieces with running an academy of this size without the infrastructure.

“I think Alex had a set of ideals that was perfect. As a club, we are going for progress over perfection at this stage.

"I think he felt the environment was such that he never thought he would be able to totally commit. You have to be all in, if you work at a club this size, you can’t be nine till five.

"Having hired close to 500 people, I have not got a 100% strike rate. Anyone who says they get it right every single time, you can point your finger at them and say you’re a fibber.

"It’s not hire and fire. We didn’t want to lose Alex."

Cross ended by saying: “I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity to join Bradford (Park Avenue). Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out.

“The academy is heading in the right direction and I look forward to seeing the continued success from afar. I wish the club all the best moving forwards.”

Knight and his team were quick to fill the void and appointed someone who has experience of starting a successful academy from the bottom.

McStravic already has his UEFA A licence and started his journey in his homeland of Northern Ireland almost a decade ago.

After launching the 'Playing for the Future' coaching company and creating the highly acclaimed Belfast Cup, the 31-year-old gained a job at a now Premier League club.

Leeds United claimed his services back in August 2017 and he has been working in their academy ever since, taking over as lead project officer a year later.

McStravic will still work at the Whites on a part-time basis and thinks the link could be crucial between the two clubs.

He said: "It will be good for us because it will provide a pathway for players on loan and players who have been released.

"We are going to be opening a skill centre on a Friday evening and invite staff down from Leeds.

"We will have players that come through our system who are good enough for Leeds United and there is a platform there. It works both ways."

Knight is confident that this will merely be a personnel change and nothing will differ from his original plans.

He said: "Our DNA is not changing. I told Thomas about the style of coaching, how the academy is going to be streamlined and how it is going to run over the next five years.

"We have gone out and recruited, at least as good, or a better academy manager, who knows our DNA.

"Previously, a change of coach has meant a change of philosophy, now what happens is the philosophy does not change. There is a consistency there.

"There is a huge infrastructure of coaches in West Yorkshire. Thomas is well connected from a coaching point of view. The coaches talking to him are from an exceptional standard."

McStravick is not at all worried about Cross’ quick-fire departure and knows what to expect from the role.

The Northern Irishman added: "Whatever has happened before is of no concern of mine. I am happy with the role and the constraints at non-league level.

"I am coming into it from a realistic point of view. It is going to take time, but we will move things onto the next level.

"I am experienced enough in this role to know that these things don’t just happen overnight."

McStravic is straight to the point when asked what he will bring to the club.

"Standards," he asserted. "I expect high standards from everyone.

"You are representing the history of the club which I am well aware of, being in the Football League previously.

"The values that I will bring is respect and work ethic. I want to try create something that is going to benefit the club for years to come.

"From an academy point of view, I am here to make sure we have a conveyor belt of players coming through to the first team.

"I have got contacts all over the country to look at players for the future. The club has a lot of potential in a nice big recruitment space."