COLNE have appointed former Carlisle and Crawley coach Nathan Rooney as their new boss.

He replaces Steve Cunningham who enjoyed a hugely successful six years in charge, winning the North West Counties Premier Division and twice reaching the Northern Premier League First Division North play-offs.

Rooney is from Blackburn and was formerly Fleetwood’s youth team manager having also worked in Rovers’ academy. He has signed a two-year deal with the Reds.

Damian Sweeney has also been named assistant head coach.

Having started coaching as a teenager, a diverse path in the game has seen Rooney help out the Gibraltar national team and visit Guinea-Bissau to help train coaches in Africa.

Chairman Ryan Haigh believes Rooney represents an excellent appointment by the club and a real "coup".

He said: "We couldn’t turn down an opportunity to have such a bright young coach head up our team for the next season, and we are really pleased to have Nathan on board.

"The fact that Nathan, being a local lad, is excited and willing to join Colne is both a coup for the club but also shows the character of Nathan, in that he shares our vision and ambition for progress.

“The players will no doubt be keen to start working alongside someone that has already gotten some experience in the leagues, and I’m sure that Nathan’s professionalism will filter down throughout the whole club from the moment we get things up and running again."

Colne’s squad is also taking shape for next season, whatever form that will take, with the club having retained the services of Hakan Burton, Lee Pugh, Waqas Azam and Aidan Chippendale.

An offer of re-engagement has also been made to midfielder Brad Knox.

A club statement read: “Several of last season’s squad are also currently in discussions with the new management team and the club will have further announcements over the coming days with a number of new faces also expected to arrive as Nathan Rooney sets about his first season in charge of the Reds.”

Colne were 15th in the BetVictor North West Division when the season was halted, the campaign also seeing them enjoy good runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, just missing out on the first round proper of the former.