LUCA Havern is warming to his caretaker manager role nicely and despite suffering a heartbreaking 3-2 comeback defeat last weekend, the signs are positive for Avenue.

After being two up at the break, the hosts eventually lost the contest against Matlock Town, with a Mitch Lund red card halting their progress.

However, Havern, who has temporarily taken over the manager’s hotseat following Mark Bower’s departure from the club, admitted that there is reason to believe moving forward.

He said: “The first half was excellent and we executed the game plan perfectly, so I was really pleased with that first period. Unfortunately for us, the Mitch Lund sending off worked against us and from then on, we looked like a completely different team.

“There are several positives to take from that game, but we’ve got to learn quickly on how to stay in games and how to deal with key moments in games much better. We are a young side, so it will come with time.

He added: “As a coach, the defeat is a difficult one to take having been 2-0 up at half-time because at the side of the pitch you can’t influence the game on-field. However, we have to look at the things we did well because in truth, we only had two sessions to prepare for the game, which was on top of an already difficult week with everything that was going on at the club.

“So, I’m delighted with the lads’ application and with how they took our instructions on board. They gave everything.”

It’s only been two weeks since Havern took over from Bower following his departure from the club, but he admitted that he’s warming to the role nicely.

He said: “I’m really enjoying it so far. Me and Oli are working hard with the lads to try and build some personal confidence within the group. The boys have taken to my ideas really well and have given me everything, which has made my transition into the role much easier. I can’t thank them enough.

“The reason I agreed to take the role in the first place was because of the respect I have for the lads in that changing room; a lot of them are my friends and former teammates. I felt a responsibility to help out because I was responsible for keeping some of them at the club in the summer window.

“I will keep helping the club and the players in this role for as long as I’m needed. We will continue to take it game-by-game and then we’ll see what happens. I haven’t spoken to the board this week, but I know discussions are underway with candidates ahead of a potential appointment at the end of the month.”

Havern takes charge of his second game as caretaker manager today, as his side travel to Gainsborough Trinity. With Avenue one point above the relegation zone, a victory this time around would be key against a side who only sit six points above the Horsfall side.

Looking ahead to the contest, Havern said: “It’s going to be a tough game. They’re doing okay currently (15th), but we’re away from home and one point above the danger zone, so we’ll need to be compact and have a really good defensive structure.

“At the same time, we need to make sure we play on the front foot, attack the space and be brave on the ball. That’s the way I want us to play, and if we do I believe we can get a positive result this weekend.”