STRIKER Jerren Nixon has been given the role as interim coach of North East Stars as a replacement for Guyanese James McLean.
Reports circulated throughout the football fraternity over the weekend that McLean left the club to return to his native Guyana, but no official word was given concerning the circumstances surrounding his abrupt departure. Nonetheless, the 2005 season has been a struggle for North East, who have looked a shadow of the dominant force that saw them capture the 2004 Pro League title. A knee injury to Nixon earlier in the season derailed their progress, while a number of players, including Guyanese Abassi McPherson, Kayode McKinnon and Carey Harris were sent packing for disciplinary reasons. There were also reports that McLean had problems dealing with his team, and that may have hastened his exit.
The 32-year-old Nixon, who made his international comeback last season, will take up duties this afternoon, when North East meets Defence Force in a 16th round match-up at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo at 5 pm. Both teams met at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima on Friday last in the First Citizens Bank (FCB) Cup quarter-final, with Defence Force prevailing 2-1.
In other match-ups today, United Petrotrin and Tobago United will meet from 6 pm in Arima, in a clash of the table-proppers, while runaway leaders W Connection hosts Caledonia AIA/Fire at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva at 7 pm.