It's good to be back - Williams

GERAINT Williams is back in football management five months after parting company with Colchester United.

Carl Marston

GERAINT Williams is back in football management five months after parting company with Colchester United.

Ex-U's boss Williams, who originally joined the Essex club as a player from Ipswich Town in 1998, was yesterday appointed the manager of Leyton Orient until the end of the season.

And the 47-year-old was quick to reveal that he had missed the cut-and-thrust of being involved in the game full-time.

“I'm delighted to be back in management. I've had a few months out and you do miss it,” insisted Williams. “The first couple of weeks I did recharge my batteries, but football's in your blood and you start to get itchy and go out to training grounds.”

The Welshman's first target is to keep the struggling O's in League One, and so boost his own chances of a long-term future at Brisbane Road.

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The East London club are currently squatting in the relegation zone, two points adrift of safety. They face a tricky test at Tranmere Rovers tomorrow - his old club Colchester are due at Brisbane Road on April 11.

“My thoughts are fully focused on getting the points to keep the club in League One,” insisted Williams.

“I'm very confident of us being able to do that. I'm here because the club hasn't performed as they expected this season.”

Caretaker boss Kevin Nugent, who was in control on a temporary basis following Martin Ling's departure in mid-January, has stayed on to become Williams' No. 2.

Williams made 217 league appearances for Ipswich before moving down the A12 to join Colchester after the U's had won promotion to the old Nationwide Division Two via the play-offs in 1998.

Williams, who also won 13 caps for Wales, played 39 league games for the U's before concentrating on his coaching.

He was an assistant manager during the reigns of both Steve Whitton and Phil Parkinson at Layer Road, and also had a month as caretaker boss in February, 2003, before being appointed full-time following Parkinson's exit in the summer of 2006.

Williams enjoyed an outstanding first season at the helm, guiding the U's to a final position of 10th in the Championship, the highest finish ever achieved by the Essex club (30th in the Football League ladder).

But he was powerless to prevent the U's from being relegated last season, and a poor start to this campaign saw the club stuck in the League One relegation zone. He left on September 22, following a 3-0 home defeat by MK Dons and a heart-to-heart with chairman Robbie Cowling.

Williams was short-listed for the vacant Walsall job last month, only to lose out to Chris Hutchings. Now, however, he is back on the managerial merry-go-round.

“There are 17 games left, and 51 points to play for, and we want to get as many as we can to keep ourselves in the division,” added Williams. The O's lost 1-0 at the Community Stadium at the end of December, although they did knock United out of the FA Cup a month earlier.