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Tonbridge Angels first-team coach Justin Luchford to leave Longmead after five years

Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm has paid tribute to departing first-team coach Justin Luchford.

Luchford is leaving Longmead after taking a new finance job overseas.

His final game, after five years alongside McKimm and assistant boss Barry Moore, comes at Leatherhead this Saturday.

Justin Luchford started out in management at Faversham Picture: Chris Davey
Justin Luchford started out in management at Faversham Picture: Chris Davey

He leaves third-placed Tonbridge in a great position to reach the Bostik Premier play-offs, holding a seven-point cushion over the chasing pack with five games remaining.

McKimm said: "I didn't know Justin at all before he came to work with us.

"He'd just got the Ramsgate job and he phoned me for a friendly, which I agreed to, no problem.

"He phoned back to say he'd been sacked so the game couldn't go ahead and a week or two later he got in touch to see if I wanted any help watching games or as a coach.

"He'd gone into management young after playing but he hadn't really done the coaching side and he wanted to come in and learn from me and Barry.

"I was happy with that - it was another set of eyes and ears - and from there he's become a great friend in football and away from football.

"If it hadn't been for that call about the friendly it would never happened. It was just by chance.

"Ramsgate's loss was our gain because I maintain he would have done a very good job for them.

"He's been absolutely brilliant for us over the past five years.

"He's good at what he does, he's a character in the dressing room and a good go-between for the players, who all really like him.

"If he goes back into football after here, I'd like to think what he's learned from me and Barry will help him."

Tonbridge consolidated third place last weekend with Chinedu McKenzie's hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Harlow.

They're off to in-form Leatherhead with injury doubts over Tom Beere and Adem Ramadan.

McKimm said: "If we don't stay in the play-offs from the position we're in, it will be down to our own incompetence.

"If we get three points at Leatherhead we'll be another step closer but it won't be easy.

"They've been on a great run, they have the best defence in the league, apart from Dorking, and we could be down to the bare bones if Tom and Adam don't make it, so it's a massive task going there."

Goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim and midfielder Joe Healy have signed first-team forms for the run-in but will only be available when work commitments allow.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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