ANDY Swallow has been appointed as manager of Grays Athletic in a short term move aimed at freeing Ryan Kirby up to play more.

Kirby was appointed player/manager of Blues in July after Hakan Hayrettin lefy to be John Still's number two at Luton Town.

Blues have faltered in their recent games, following a plucky start to the campaign.

They are now in a battle to stay in the division and Swallow, who has led the Blues' under 18s side for the last 18 months is to step up as manager.

This could see Kirby play more frequently - and address problems in defence, which is arguably Grays' key area of concern.

In a statement on the club's forum, Joel Nathan, the chief executive officer said: "Due to Ryan Kirby's heavy workload, we have decided that Andy will step in to run the team and source new signings with immediate effect.

"This allows Ryan to keep his input and continue to coach the team and will also allow him to play more regularly

"They will work closely together with Andy taking the team tomorrow night

"New signings are currently in progress and will be announced soon

"The club will work tirelessly to get us out of our current predicament."

On Saturday, Blues suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Canvey Island - their seventh league defeat on the spin. They currently lie in ninth place in the Ryman Premier League but have played up to NINE games less than some of the teams around them.

Their last win in the league came against Harrow Borough on Saturday, December 7.

Andy Swallow, who was the club's CEO up until August - when he stepped down to successfully fight a court case - built a competitive under 18s side. He led them to the second round proper of the FA Youth Cup shortly before Christmas.

He will take charge of Blues Robert Dyas semi-final clash at Maidstone United tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.