The cosy surroundings are very familiar for David Wetherall.

It was the room that Colin Todd referred to as “the dungeon”, the poky office beside the Valley Parade dressing rooms.

It was where Wetherall suddenly found himself thrown in the deep end in February 2007 when Todd’s sacking left City temporarily rudderless on their descent out of League One.

Those three months hit hard as he tried in vain to juggle both jobs of managing the side while still skippering it from the heart of defence.

It was a losing battle, as Wetherall has admitted since. In hindsight, he shouldn’t have accepted Julian Rhodes’ plea.

But then Wetherall did it because he thought it was best for the club. And the same could be said of the new role he finds himself in.

The 38-year-old is back in his same seat in the office. Only this time he sits there as the gaffer to the youth team.

“It’s not a problem now,” he smiles while pushing a mountain of paper-work to one side of the desk. “There are no players around…”

Meticulous preparations are being put in place but the reality of the job kicks in when the apprentices arrive to begin pre-season on June 29.

Wetherall admits the challenge of moulding the young wannabes into genuine first-team hopefuls is one he cannot wait to get his teeth into.

Ever the perfectionist, he intends to put everything into the job. But it will mean no more involvement with the senior set-up.

He said: “It’s a big change. Being in charge of the youth team is a job in itself and to say you can do this, run the reserves and still do bits and pieces for the first team is too much. There are not enough hours in the day or days in the week.

“You can’t be in two or three places at once so it’s a case of fully focusing on coaching the youth team for me. But our reserve team has a lot of youth players anyway, so on the day of games there is a big overlap.”

Much of the talk is about bridging the gaps between youth, reserves and first team. It becomes harder on the coaching staff because they are a man down after Chris Casper was released in a cost-cutting measure.

Wetherall has had to pick up the slack but will lean heavily on youth development officer Peter Horne, who will be a regular visitor to the training ground to help with sessions.

Wetherall added: “With me concentrating on the youth team and the gaffer and Jakes (Wayne Jacobs) with the first team, we have to make sure the lads in the reserves don’t fall by the wayside through no fault of their own.

“But I’ve been around the club before I became the extra coach. I’ve seen how it can work and the possible pitfalls that are there.

“We’ve just got to strive to make sure that every base is covered to the best of our ability.

“One good thing hopefully will be a smoother progression for the lads. I’ve seen how the manager likes to do things tactically from last year so hopefully the players will go right along those same lines.”

Wetherall has admitted that he has been put off a crack at senior management because of the non-stop pressure. The agenda he will face now is very different, focusing more on improving individuals than the team.

“Football is a results-based business first and foremost and that’s totally and utterly the case at first-team level. But with the youth team you’re far better off having a mediocre season results-wise and having one or two players who come through, than winning everything and there’s nobody considered good enough to step up.

“Everyone wants the winning habit but that’s what the goal is.

“If you have 18 lads in, you don’t pick what you see as your best 11 every week. Everyone’s got to have a chance to show they are a good player.”

Despite finishing in the bottom half of the North East Conference, last season’s youth crop produced three players who have been handed first contracts; Louis Horne, Luke Dean and Rory Carson.

It is a high figure and sets the benchmark as City look to produce more of their own.