CONCORD Rangers stalwart Nicky Cowley has hung up his boots to take the assistant manager’s role at the club alongside his brother.

Cowley made the announcement yesterday after Glen Alzapiedi stepped down as Danny Cowley’s number two to take over at Cheshunt, and the younger brother will step in to fill the void having made the decision to end his playing career – describing the move as ‘a natural progression’.

The 32-year-old has recently been dogged by knee injuries and he said the assistant manager’s job came at the perfect time for him, having made the decision to quit the game a few weeks ago.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am making the decision to stop playing,” he said. “I have been here for eight seasons now and have loved every minute but I was only able to play 20 games last year which was a lot less than I am used to.

“I wasn’t training with the team as I couldn’t recover fully for games and at this level you need to be able to train. I had a difficult conversation with Dan but he understands. My knee has made this decision for me.”

Cowley joined the Beachboys coaching staff at the start of the 2012/13 season, combining his playing responsibilities with a coaching role but he admits it was time to call time on his playing career when he broke down in training recently.

“I have played many games for this club and thoroughly enjoyed every second. But I have had two operations on my knee and had a lot of arthritis removed. That was when the doctor told me I had arthritis as well.

“It just so happens that this has coincided with Glen’s departure and I am looking forward to the challenges this new role will bring.

Cowley has enjoyed a successful career at the club, collecting a league winners medal and two cup winners medals, as well as securing two play-off wins and three promotions. He was made club captain before passing on the captaincy to Tony Stokes when he took up a coaching role two years ago. He has been part of a three man team with former assistant manager Glen Alzapiedi and Danny Cowley ever since.

And the new assistant was full of praise for the outgoing Alzapiedi.

“Glen has been a massive help for me personally. He has been fantastic while he has been here and his knowledge of the game is outstanding. I have been able to learn a lot from him and look forward to taking up this challenge.

“This team has achieved so much already and if we work hard, something Danny and I are huge believers in, I am sure we will continue to be successful.”