FC CLACTON have appointed former Chelsea striker Mark Nicholls as their new first-team manager.

The 43-year-old, who made 36 Premier League appearances for the Blues between 1995 and 2001, has taken over from Tom Austin, who left the Thurlow Nunn League premier division club to take charge at Brightlingsea Regent earlier this month.

Nicholls played with the likes of Ruud Gullit, Roberto di Matteo, Gianluca Vialli and Gianfranco Zola during his time at Stamford Bridge, rose through the Chelsea academy.

He was a first-team player with the West London club for six seasons but had plenty of loan spells during that time, playing for the likes of Reading and Grimsby Town.

Nicholls also had a month at Colchester in the 2000-01 season, making three league starts and one substitute appearance during his brief spell at Layer Road under boss Steve Whitton.

Nicholls went on to play for the likes of Partick Thistle and Torquay United before hanging up his boots.

Nicholls was introduced to the Seasiders' squad on Tuesday night and has one training session on Thursday before an important game away at Ilford on Saturday, in the FA Vase.

In a statement, FC Clacton said: 'We spoke to many outstanding candidates for the role but Mark stood out as the right appointment for us to work with and further develop a great bunch of players individually and collectively.

' The Club are very lucky to have great people involved like first team coach Glenn Eldridge and the Reserve management team of Lionel Toms and Ollie Leroux who we knew we could rely on to look after things while we took the time needed to make the right appointment.

' Mark has not long moved to the area so does not know the club, players or League but has an extensive knowledge of the game following a career that saw him play at the highest level, as well as being an experienced coach.

'We are all excited by the appointment while Mark can’t wait to get on the training pitch with the boys & is looking forward to meeting everyone involved the club, including of course our great supporters who he has heard all about.

'Come on you Seasiders!'