MATTY Etherington has been appointed as Colchester United's head coach on a permanent basis.

The 42-year-old has today been named as Ben Garner's successor, having impressed during his spell in interim charge of the U's after stepping up from his role as the club's under-21 lead coach.

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Etherington said: "All in all, my interim spell in charge was a positive experience, both for the players and for myself.

"It was definitely on an interim basis when I spoke to Robbie (Cowling) and Dmitri (Halajko) at Robbie's house on a Sunday evening and it's just developed from there.

Gazette:

"We had another conversation at the start of the weekย and they offered me the job which I was delighted to take - I'd be a fool to say no.

"I addressed the players this morning just to let them know what was going on and thanked them for their support over the last few weeks.

"There's been a positive reactionย and a positive feeling around the place at the minute.

"I'm sure there'll be a bit of scepticism around my appointment and I totally get it and understand that.

"But I believe in the way I work and I believe in myself, as a coach and it'll be down to me, and the staff and the players to prove we can still go on and have a successful season.

"I'm sure there'll be some people that will be pleased that I've taken over and some people that aren't - I just think that's football in general.

Gazette:

"If I'd have won the last five out of five, there would still be that, so I'm a realist in those terms.

"I know the landscape, I know what football is all about - I've been in the game since I was 15 years old.

"I'm sure there will be plenty of more positive times ahead; there'll be bumps in the road but I'm sure there'll be plenty of positives, as well."

Since taking temporary charge at Colchester last month, Etherington has presided over three wins and a draw in his four League Two games in charge of the U's.

Gazette: Matty Etherington

Colchester would have claimed four wins out of four in the league, had it not been for a stoppage-time equaliser from Sutton United in the 1-1 draw at the JobServe Community Stadium, last Saturday.

Etherington tookย charge of the first team with Colchester languishing in the relegation zone, following a 2-1 home defeat to Harrogate Town.

The former Spurs, West Ham United and Stoke City winger has led them up to 16th place in the League Two table, ahead of their trip to play league leaders Stockport County, on Saturday.

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Speaking prior toย last weekend's draw with Sutton, Etherington said he would love the job on a permanent basis.

He said: โ€œThe conversation at the start was 'let's get to Sutton and go from there' and if I have to go back to the 21s and do that, Iโ€™ll happily do it; if they offer me the chance to take the role on, of course Iโ€™d do it โ€“ Iโ€™d love to do it.

โ€œIโ€™m enjoying it.

โ€œIโ€™ve got to be honest, in terms of the output weโ€™re giving them as staff, the players are the ones who are getting the results.

Gazette:

โ€œTheyโ€™re the ones going out there giving the effort and making those decisions at times, which I like to give them the freedom to do."

Etherington was appointed as Colchester's new under-21 boss in June, succeeding Dave Huzzey following his promotion to first-team coaching duties.

READ MORE: U's goal ace Joe Taylor boosted by Luton Town messages

Etherington had spent time as Crawley Townโ€™s head coach last season and also previously coached Peterborough Unitedโ€™s first team, under-21s and under-18s.

He made almost 300 Premier League appearances across a successful playing career spanning nearlyย 20 years.