Mark Lawn this morning emphatically denied that Peter Jackson jumped from the City helm before he was pushed.

Speaking for the first time since the manager quit Valley Parade, the joint-chairman admitted Jackson's departure had come as a huge shock.

He said: "I think stunned would be the response by the board. It wasn't the case (that we were pushing him out).

"We were talking about expanding budgets to bring in experienced players and to try and attract them.

"But sometimes you can't control circumstances. When someone resigns, you can't control that."

Lawn thanked Jackson for the job he did at the end of last season in steering City to safety.

He added: "We had a team that was going to go out the league unless someone did something about it. Peter did that and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude."

City have already narrowed their search for a successor and are not looking for further applications.

Lawn said: "Myself and Julian (Rhodes) sat long into the night yesterday to debate what we do next.

"We've got people we want to speak to if they want to speak to us. That's how we want to pursue it."

Colin Cooper is in charge of the team against Barnet tomorrow.