DANNY Barker will be stepping down as Romsey Town manager following tonight’s Russell Cotes Cup tie at home to Folland Sports.

The Bypass boys crashed to the foot of the Sydenhams Premier Division with a demoralising 3-0 defeat at fel low strugglers Bournemouth Poppies on Saturday – a result described as “a crushing blow” by Barker.

Following talks with Romsey chair man Ken Jacobs yesterday, it was mutually decided it was in the club’s best interests to bring in someone new to give Town the best possible chance of Wessex top-flight survival.

Had it not been for Hayling United’s ground grading problems, Romsey would have been relegated last term, but Barker was confident his summer rebuilding job would provide the plat form for a mid-table finish.

But results have not gone to plan with Town losing 12 and drawing one of their opening 14 league games. And, after Saturday’s meek surren der at Poppies, where they were two down inside seven minutes, Barker was forced to question whether he was the right man to take the club forward.

“It was a huge game for us and I had high hopes of getting something down at Bournemouth, but it was like we froze. We just didn’t turn up,” he said.

“It was a real low point for me and, for the first time, it made me question my position and wonder if I could do any more.

“I’ve always been fully committed to Romsey, but I’m a realist too.

“We’ve lost a few players and we’re not as far ahead as I thought we’d be from last year which is a shame because the potential’s huge.

“I was happy to carry on if Ken had wanted me too, but we mutually agreed that it was time to replace me with a new manager.

“I’m not disappointed because a fresh face is what’s needed. “I’ve offered to help in the process to replace me and it gives the club the opportunity to try and turn the sea son round. I don’t want them strug gling month after month.”

At 36, former Portsmouth and Basingstoke defender Barker is far from finished with management.

“I’ll be looking to get a new job as soon as I can and I’ve got a good coaching team behind me in Dan Piper, Andy Samuels and Nigel Green,” he said.

“Unfortunately things haven’t worked out at Romsey and I’m big enough to say it’s not working.

“But I’m also young enough to recover and, although I’m sad to leave the club, I’m equally excited about my future.”

Poppies pair Martin Warren and Luke Ingram stunned Town with their early salvo at Victoria Park on Saturday before Warren struck again with his fifth goal in eight league matches.

It was only Bournemouth’s second league win of the season, hoisting them two points clear of Romsey.