IT was a rollercoaster few months for the youngest bosses in the Football League, but ultimately, the experiment that started off so brightly for City quickly went off the rails.

With City in the doldrums, and dangling precariously above the relegation zone in mid-December, newly-appointed chief executive Ryan Sparks made the big decision to remove club legend Stuart McCall from his duties as manager.

It was a huge call to appoint Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars, even if it was only on an interim basis, with the club facing several huge games before the end of 2020.

But with wins over Cambridge, Grimsby and Tranmere coming quickly, the club started to slowly edge clear of danger.

January brought a raft of postponements, both Covid and weather-based, but City, Trueman and Sellars soon hit their stride once things were back underway, drawing at then-leaders Cambridge and beating Southend and Barrow.

February saw the Trueman and Sellars era hit new heights.

An unlucky 3-2 defeat at Exeter was followed by five straight wins, and in the middle of all that, Trueman and Sellars were appointed as joint-bosses on a permanent basis.

When Danny Rowe slammed home a last-gasp equaliser against Bolton at Valley Parade, Trueman and Sellars' record in charge stood at 10 wins, four draws and just a single defeat.

But then it all began to unravel. As my colleague Simon Parker has referred to, that controversial 2-1 defeat to Newport in Cardiff, with City 1-0 up going into the final 15 minutes, was the beginning of the end.

Poor defeats to Carlisle and Scunthorpe soon followed, though City did have a brief renaissance with three wins in four, including a superb 4-1 victory over Forest Green on Good Friday.

But a mid-April collapse ended City's play-off challenge once and for all, with five defeats on the spin and just the two goals scored.

The season had petered out, and a lacklustre defeat at automatic promotion-chasing Morecambe was sadly the last time Trueman and Sellars would be seen in the City dugout.

Here are some possible factors that may have contributed to their downfall:


Is it something as something as simple as that which counted against the duo in the end? Trueman is still only 33, and Sellars just 29.

Of course they came straight from their role with the Under-18s into the hotseat too.

Nobody could complain about the sterling work Trueman and Sellars had done there, but it is one thing nurturing budding youngsters, a whole other dealing with the pressure cooker of League Two.


Did the pair end up making a rod for their own back by starting off so well?

City were not really expecting to offer the pair permanent deals back in December, but two months later, it became hard to ignore just how well things were going.

As Sellars has already admitted, a spread of results over the season may have been better for himself and Trueman, as those high expectations that had been created by March, with fans even dreaming of automatic promotion, soon tailed off in spectacular fashion


City brought the pair in in January, and both quickly found their shooting boots.

But it was a rare thing to see Trueman and Sellars deploy the two up front together, which frustrated many fans, given the form of the experienced duo.

In the end a lack of game time proved too much for Rowe, who shockingly departed for Chesterfield barely three months after signing.


Kenny Black told the press just days before that fateful Oldham defeat that he and McCall would not be moving away from their trusted 3-5-2 formation, even though the club had been on a poor run while using it.

Trueman and Sellars preferred a different outlook, a 4-2-3-1, and it was one they tended to stick to.

But was there scope for changing that when results took a turn?

Fans could be critical of Trueman and Sellars failing to react when matches were slipping away, as well as substitutions coming too late, and players perhaps still getting game time when they were out of form.


Trueman and Sellars were both unfortunate not to have the services of young talents like Reece Staunton and Bryce Hosannah during their reign due to long-term injuries, while they saw very little of Lee Novak either.

But they had moulded a formidable outfit, with no player more crucial than Callum Cooke.

The North-East star was proving to be an absolute gem in the number 10 role, but got injured warming up down in Cardiff against Newport in early March.

His absence coincided with the initial slump under Trueman and Sellars and though Cooke did return six weeks later off the bench against Tranmere, by this point the play-off dream was already rapidly slipping away.

City fans, what do you think went wrong for the young duo?