Meshach Wade has been dismissed as Dandy Town coach ahead of the club's semi-final showdown with Boulevard.

The veteran midfielder will stay with the Hornets as a player, but will no longer be in charge of the first team with the club's technical director Scott Morton stepping in to the breach.

A brief statement from the Western Stars sports club yesterday said the decision had been taken to 'reconfigure some key personnel' and insisted that Wade remained 'critical' to the club's success on the pitch.

Morton said the transition had been smooth and amicable and predicted that the Hornets would go from strength to strength.

He said it had been difficult for Wade to concentrate fully on the coaching side of his job once he started playing in the first XI following the November transfer deadline.

"The club decided they needed someone in the coaching job full-time.

"We are just trying to move forward with him dedicating more time to playing and myself taking over the full reins so the coaching duties are carried out to the maximum." said Morton.

"I've had the team for the last two weeks. The players are used to me. They know what I expect from them on and off the pitch."

He insisted the switch would not have any effect on their preparations for the Boxing Day Dudley Eve semi-final.

"It's not just one situation that makes the team. The players understand that teams have coaching changes, they have to move with those changes.

"Regardless of any questions or concerns they are strong enough to stick to our goals and objectives."

Morton said the players were informed of the decision on Sunday and Wade had continued to play his part in training and would be part of the squad for Friday's showdown in St George's. "He hasn't said whether he's happy or not happy about the decision, he's just got on with it and continued to play a big role for the team. The experience he brings to the team is unique. He has a major influence on the pitch and from what I've seen from him in training this week, he's relishing the situation."

Morton believes his team can be a contender for all the major trophies this season. But right now he's simply focusing on Friday's game. "I want to start by winning the next match. That's the objective before we start talking about trophies."I appreciate winning, but I appreciate it more if we play well."

As far as long term objectives go Morton, who also took over midway through last season when Devarr Boyles quit, is aware that he is inheriting a team in a good position to challenge for the league title. "The squad can go as far as they want to. It just depends how much commitment and sacrifice they put in.

"Right now it's about putting in the work."

Ray Jones

Meanwhile the BFA confirmed that Devonshire Colts coach Ray Jones had been suspended from all football for two years. Jones had initially been given a year's probation for his verbal confrontation with referee Ronue Cann. He appealed that decision but the association's Appeals Committee took his prior history into account and decided to increase the sentence to a two year suspension from all football, including administrative duties, meaning he will be stripped of his role as BFA treasurer.