SEAN Pemberton has stepped down as first team coach in the wake of Haverfordwest County AFC preparing for the arrival of new manager Nicky Hayen.

Pemberton was brought in to manage the team on a temporary basis, alongside current player Jazz Richards, after Wayne Jones stepped down as manager in the aftermath of a 4-1 loss to Flint Town at the beginning of December.

The former Bluebirds captain said the decision was made after careful consideration.

“This was not an easy decision as the club is a very special place for me and has been a huge part of my life for nearly a decade,” said Pemberton.

“I would like to thank everyone associated with the club, from the chairman, hard-working staff, players past and present to the army of dedicated supporters for making the Bridge Meadow a special place."

Showing the same class he had on the pitch, off the pitch, Pemberton reserved some words for incoming manager Hayden.

“This is an exciting time for the club with a new manager at the helm," said Pemberton. "I feel that it’s time for me to step down as coach and seek new opportunities."

During his time at County, Pemberton achieved promotion to the Cymru Premier on two occasions, most recently in 2019-20 when a second placed finish saw the Bluebirds promoted over Swansea University, who failed to obtain the Tier 1 Licence.

Following Jones’ resignation, Pemberton and Richards took interim charge of games against Bala Town and Connah’s Quay Nomads in the JD Cymru Premier, achieving a point against Bala.

Commenting on Pemberton’s departure, chairman Rob Edwards said: “Pembs has been a stalwart on and off the pitch for the best part of a decade. He was an honest and committed player, and was the same as a coach.

“He stepped up in a difficult time to run the team with Jazz, and he never let me down. We wish him all the best with what comes next.”

County confirmed the appointment of Nicky Hayen as the club’s new first team manager and technical director on December 21.

The Belgian, who is a UEFA Pro Licence holder, arrives at The Ogi Bridge Meadow on an 18-month contract, with a clause for an additional 12 months – subject to a work permit.