MELKSHAM Town caretaker boss Luke Ballinger has ruled himself out of the running to take over the club on a full-time basis and insists he will only be manager next season if the club cannot find the right person for the job.

Ballinger has been in temporary charge since Kieran Baggs’ shock exit on March 29, and has struggled to field 11 players in both of his interim fixtures in Southern League Division One South.

The club has previously stated that Ballinger would be at the helm for the remainder of the current campaign before a decision on the long-term managerial position would be made during the post-season.

The former Chippenham Town forward has now revealed that he will not be putting himself up for the role in the first round of applications, and will only be in charge next season in unexpected circumstances.

He said: “For me, if we’re talking about this moment in time, then I’d only step in if there wasn’t the right person for the job out there and there was no one else to do it.

“If a manager doesn’t get what he wants or they club don’t get the right person, then of course I’d step in and help, but at the moment, I will not be applying for the job.

“At this moment in time, I’m looking short term and then we’ll get to the end of the season and go from there.

“I’m not even thinking about next season, to be honest. I just want to get this season finished and then we’ll sit down in the summer and go from there.

“If there are any managers out there that want to take it on and work with me, in terms of they want me to be their assistant or they just want me to be a player, then I’ll look at that as well.

“If no one comes in – which I’d be very surprised about because it’s a great job – then I’ll see in the summer, but I’m sure the number of applicants will be coming in thick and fast, there’s no doubt about that.”

Ballinger has thanked the league for their understanding in the aftermath of Baggs’ exit as the player-manager has been able to sign a full squad of players for their remaining four fixtures.

Melksham travel to bottom side Fleet Town on Saturday, looking for their first points under the 31-year-old, but Ballinger insists their hosts will be a tough test as his side has to work extremely hard to dig out a 2-1 win earlier in the season.

Ballinger said: “There are a lot of rumours going around and people will have their own opinions of what happened and that’s fine.

“The league has been good to us – we’ve been able to register 18 players, so we’ve been able to bring in some players who weren’t already signed on.

“I’ve now got a full squad to pick from and then we’ll just have to take each game as it comes.”