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Warrington Rylands appoint experienced former EFL turned non league player

Warrington Rylands appoint experienced former EFL turned non league player Mark Duffy as their new manager, they confirm this week.

The 38 year old who helped the Rylands alongside Dean Furman on a temporary basis until the conclusion of the season has officially accepted the position on a permanent basis.

He will now lead them into the 2024-25 season, after a campaign where they surpassed expectations by reaching the playoffs of the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Unfortunately for them, they were defeated by Marine, who later secured promotion to the National League North.

Here’s how Warrington Rylands’ last 4 seasons have played out…

2020-21 – NWC-P – G5 W4 D1 L0 GF15 GA4 – ABAND
2021-22 – NPL-1W – G38 W26 D7 L5 GF95 GA38 – 1/20
2022-23 – NPL-P – G42 W17 D9 L16 GF64 GA55 – 10/22
2023-24 – NPL-P – G40 W21 D12 L7 GF65 GA42 – 4/21

Mark Duffy has had quite career across various leagues, mostly in the Football League, but first started at the academies of Liverpool and Wrexham, then early in his senior career, he played non league for Vauxhall Motors and then moved to Prescot Cables and Southport.

Duffy entered the Football League with Morecambe and later joined Scunthorpe United in January 2011, spent the 2013–14 season at Doncaster Rovers, moved to Birmingham City in June 2014 but was loaned out to Chesterfield and Burton Albion, where he helped win promotion to the Championship.

In June 2016, he joined Sheffield United and with Chris Wilder at the helm, the Blades won promotion from League One in 2016–17 and the Championship in 2018–19.

He also signed for Stoke City on loan for the first half of the 2019–20 season and then Dutch side ADO Den Haag in January 2020.

Towards the latter stages of his career, Duffy played for Fleetwood Town, Tranmere Rovers, and Macclesfield before taking on the role of manager at Warrington Rylands, having made some appearances for them.

In October 2023, Macclesfield announced that they have parted company with head coach Mark Duffy.

The former Sheffield United midfielder took over the reins of the Silkmen in May 2023 following the departure of Neil Danns.

Despite a relatively strong start to the season which saw them win their opening three fixtures, four defeats in their last five games have forced the club to look for new leadership elsewhere.

In a statement, Macclesfield FC owner Robert Smethurst said: “Further to last night’s Northern Premier League – Premier Division fixture against Worksop Town, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to part company with Head Coach Mark Duffy, Assistant Head Coach Sammy McIlroy, and Head Goalkeeper Coach Dean Baker.

“In addition to this, Head of Recruitment Jimmy Holmes will also be leaving his role at the Football Club.

“All four individuals have been a pivotal factor in all that we have achieved to date and without them, none of this would have been possible.

“Helping us achieve two successive promotions is something which all four individuals can take an infinite amount of pride and is something which we will forever be grateful for.

“Whilst their positive contributions can never be questioned, the challenges we have faced since being promoted to the Premier Division of the Northern Premier League have meant that changes need to be made.

“Despite everyone’s best efforts, four defeats in the last five games sadly have forced our hand.

“Before the 2023/24 season commenced, we made everyone acutely aware that our aim was to secure a play-off place and be competitive in every game we play.

“Whilst accepting the fact that the campaign remains in its early stages, the stark reality is that if our current form is allowed to continue unchecked then our objectives for the season would be placed in jeopardy.

“Quite simply, we are not prepared to risk that.

“Every facet of the Football Club (including playing staff) will be meticulously reviewed to ensure our incredibly high standards are maintained.

“We will do everything within our power to ensure that our objectives are met and will issue a further statement in due course.”

Youth career
1993–2003 – Liverpool
2003–2004 – Wrexham

Senior career
2004–2005 – Vauxhall Motors – 9 games (1 goal)
2005–2007 – Prescot Cables
2007–2009 – Southport – 102 games (19 goals)
2009 → Morecambe (loan) – 9 games (1 goal)
2009–2011 – Morecambe – 67 games (6 goals)
2011–2013 – Scunthorpe United – 112 games (10 goals)
2013–2014 – Doncaster Rovers – 39 games (2 goals)
2014–2016 – Birmingham City – 7 games (1 goal)
2015 → Chesterfield (loan) – 3 games (0 goals)
2015–2016 → Burton Albion (loan) – 47 games (8 goals)
2016–2020 – Sheffield United – 121 games (15 goals)
2019–2020 → Stoke City (loan) – 9 games (0 goals)
2020 → ADO Den Haag (loan) – 5 games (0 goals)
2020–2021 – Fleetwood Town – 31 games (2 goals)
2021–2022 – Tranmere Rovers – 7 games (0 goals)
2022–2023 – Macclesfield – 45 games (2 goals)
2024 – Warrington Rylands – 9 games (0 goals)
Total – 622 games (67 goals)


Lancashire Junior Cup: 2007–08

Burton Albion
Football League One runner-up: 2015–16

Sheffield United
EFL League One: 2016–17
EFL Championship runner-up: 2018–19

North West Counties Football League Premier Division: 2021–22
Northern Premier League Division One West: 2022–23

PFA Team of the Year: 2015–16 League One, 2016–17 League One

Mark Duffy spoke after joining the club earlier this year, saying he felt really good about the move, that they got a really good group and the lads made him feel really welcome.

He said when speaking with the club’s media at the time of signing: “I knew Cleggy and Hunty obviously played against Hunty a few times and knew Cleggy from obviously, you know, being on the touchline with him.

“He’s a really, really good guy and I said he’s, you know, he’s created a really good group here. So when I spoke to him, he just said, you know, can you come in and give us a little bit of a hand and, you know, show me the experience as well and just obviously they’ve got a few injuries, lost key player, so in any way I can help.

“Just pleased to be back out here. Its good to be out on the grass again and obviously, you know, you do miss it and. But, yeah, I said, I’m just here to help in any way, shape or form, really, and whatever the team needs, I’ll try best to do.”

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