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Former Holbeach United and Wisbech Town manager Seb Hayes returns to Oakham United

New Oakham United boss Seb Hayes feels the challenge of reviving the fortunes of the Rutland club is the 'right fit' for his return to management.

Hayes has returned to Lands End Meadow this week to take charge of the Peterborough League Premier Division club.

He was part of their management team five years ago when Oakham were in the United Counties League before moving on to higher level clubs.

Seb Hayes (46387525)
Seb Hayes (46387525)

Oakham were relegated from step six of the non-league pyramid in 2018 and have struggled for the past two seasons at the foot of the Peterborough League Premier Division table.

They had lost all eight games of the current campaign before the season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And Hayes is relishing the challenge of being back in management after a near 15-month sabbatical.

He said: "Oakham is the right fit for me. It is a club which going in the wrong direction and it's my challenge to turn it around and move it back to close to where it was.

"It is something that really appeals to me. I wanted the Oakham job because I don't like the position that the club is in on the pitch.

"I feel like that I owe Oakham something with a period of time in management to try and put right the things that have been wrong over the past few seasons.

"I know the club well and the area player-wise so we need to make it appealing to them and rebuild because the set-up is unbelievable over there and the club is in a really good position off the pitch."

Hayes left his role with Oakham initially to join Holbeach United in the United Counties League Premier Division.

After a couple of successful seasons with the Tigers, he moved to the next level to manage Wisbech Town in the Northern Premier League South East Division.

He departed the Fenmen in December 2019 and has recently been scouting for Southern League Premier Division Central side Peterborough Sports.

Hayes explained: "I have doing some scouting for Jimmy Dean and the more games that I watched the more I realised I was missing football and not being involved on the matchday.

"I started to get itchy feet and was just looking for the right opportunity.

"It's been about biding my time and finding something that interested me and that I wanted to do.

"I initially left Oakham because I wanted to push on and go as high as possible and win trophies.

"Holbeach gave me that opportunity and I delivered. We had a lot of success there and won a lot of football matches.

"The opportunity came at Wisbech which is something I wanted to do because it is a step higher up.

"It didn't work out for whatever reason and that was one of the reasons why I waited so long because I wanted the club to be right for me.

"It was my choice to come back to Oakham. I could have gone back in at both step five and six recently but this doesn't phase me.

"I haven't had any success as a manager at step seven so I want to prove to myself at that level.

"I want to prove to people that I can be a good manager and coach at this level and I can do things without a budget.

"It was more the project in knowing Oakham and the facilities that appealed to me and my desire to coach and manage again and finding the right club to do that.

"We have got to be up for a challenge like this. I know it is going to be hard and probably not many would want to take the job after the last couple of seasons but I'm motivated by it.

"The infrastructure of the club and the set-up is there, but things need to improve football-wise. If it does then it's been proved in the past that it can happen very quickly when things are done correctly."

Neil Duncan will take charge of the club's reserve team following Hayes' appointment with the new boss also keen to integrate the Under 17s team who currently play in the Leicestershire Youth League.

Hayes added: "The pathway between the sides is the key because when Oakham were promoted before they probably were not ready as a club to be at that level because it happened so quickly.

"There was no conveyor belt of young players coming through to have an identity and a willingness to play for Oakham.

"There are a lot of good, hungry young players at the club and we need to create an environment for them.

"As the manager, I need to make sure the first team is moving up the table and, if we do that, then what we want to achieve will happen a lot quicker than if we just sit still.

"We have got to find a happy medium because, if we want the young players in, then we need experienced ones to help us move up the table.

"The goal is to help put the club back to where it was because the facilities and the club deserve a team to do that."

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