DARLINGTON'S traumatic week has taken a further plunge with joint managers Brian Atkinson and Sean Gregan departing before they have even taken charge of a game.

Appointed on Sunday to replace Martin Gray, who quit the club to take over at York City, the duo won’t be in charge for Saturday’s game with Stockport County at Blackwell Meadows.

Senior players Phil Turnbull and Gary Brown have been put in temporary command, with the club inviting applications for the position.

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A club statement read: “Following consultation with the National League and the boards of Darlington Football Club and Darlington FCSG, Brian has been told that he must stand down from his role at Darlington FC because of a conflict of interest with his role as a director at the Martin Gray Football Academy.

“Sean has decided to leave because he was looking for greater security than the club could offer through a contract until the end of the season.

"We would like to thank Brian and Sean, who like the club are understandably very disappointed, for their service over the last five years. Both of them have played a key role in the club’s success, and we wish them all the best for the future.’’