NEW manager Gary Whild has pledged to bring the smiles back to Kidderminster Harriers.

The former Redditch United boss took the reins at Aggborough yesterday after Andy Thorn and assistant Craig Knight were sacked.

He became their third manager in 58 days and is keen to try and heal the wounds at the club.

Fans were in uproar after the controversial January departure of Steve Burr, following a run of form which saw them slip from title contenders to the fringes of the Skrill Premier play-offs, and then chairman Mark Serrell quit last month, citing abuse from supporters on social media.

“I think first and foremost it is important to put a smile back on everyone’s face,” said Whild.

“It’s been a difficult season but we know what the group of players here is capable of after finishing second last season. Harriers are a good club with a great reputation.”

Whild had been assistant at the club for three-and-a -half seasons and his vast knowledge of the local non-league scene unearthed players such as Jamille Matt and Joe Lolley.

After Burr’s departure, he remained a paid employee contracted until 2016, although he had not been involved with the first team.

Thorn, who was on a one-year rolling contract, was at the helm when they stunned League One Peterborough in the FA Cup Third Round and produced an admirable performance in losing only 1-0 at Premier League Sunderland.

However, he failed to turn around the club’s poor league form and presided over four defeats in eight Conference matches.

New chairman Ken Rae knows Whild from their time at Redditch, where he was chairman and Gary kept the minnows in the Conference North.

Rae said: “The decision to remove Andy was not based on results, the board of directors felt we had to do something. We wish him the best of luck in the future.”

He added: “Gary’s record here, working with Steve Burr, is very strong and I know how hard he has worked to bring players here who’ve been extremely successful.”

Whild’s first challenge is picking up the players for Saturday’s trip to Wrexham (3pm ko).

Harriers then entertain Macclesfield at home on Tuesday (7.45pm ko).

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