STEVE Butterworth feels he may have to hang up his boots if he is named Great Wakering Rovers’ new permanent manager in the summer.

Butterworth, who was appointed interim player-manager until the end of the season after Garry Kimble’s departure in January, takes his side to Barking for a vital Isthmian North clash tonight.

Despite enjoying his new role, Butterworth admits he would have a big decision to make should he be offered the top job at the end of the campaign.

The 33-year-old said: “I don’t think that you can combine playing and managing.

“I feel as though it is best if they are kept separate because they are totally different things.

“(Assistant player-manager) Simon Glover and I are playing still and we’re trying our best.

“I obviously joined the coaching staff soon after Garry Kimble came in as manager and I am enjoying my new role.

“But I am totally different on the sidelines to how I am on the pitch.

“I can see everything that is going on from the sidelines and I am quite calm.

“But, on the pitch, I am one of the loudest players and I will be one of the first to appeal for decisions.

“I am working hard to make sure we stay in the division and then, in the summer, it’s up to the club to decide who is in charge.

“If they decide that I’m the right man for the job then I might have to decide whether to retire because I don’t think I can play and manage at the same time.”

Wakering, who are 16th in the standings and just eight points above the bottom two, will go head-to-head with Barking at Mayesbrook Park tonight.

Like Wakering, Justin Gardner’s Barking are struggling for form and have picked up just seven points from their last eight outings.

However, Barking ran out 3-0 winners in the reverse fixture at Burroughs Park and Butterworth is looking for revenge.

“We got steam-rolled in the reverse fixture,” added Butterworth.

“We lost 3-0 and that was one of our worst performances of the season.

“They are a very physical side and it’s one of those games where we’re going to have to roll our sleeves up and grind out a result.

“It’s a game where we need to get something because we still have to play Heybridge Swifts, Coggeshall Town and Maldon & Tiptree - who are all fighting for promotion - between now and the end of the season.

“We are away to Heybridge on Saturday and it would be a good boost if we go into that game on the back of a win.”

Wakering go into the encounter having suffered a 3-2 defeat to high-flying Aveley on Saturday.

Tony Martin scored two goals against his former club, but the striker’s brace was not enough to salvage a share of the spoils.

And Butterworth admitted a better start to the match is needed if Wakering are to claim a positive result.

“Aveley scored after 40 seconds and when that happens, the plan goes out of the window,” conceded the player-manager.

“We were quite good in the first half, but the early goal cost us.

“Ryan O’Rawe joined us last week and his hamstring went early on, so we only have one fit centre-back to take to Barking.”