Express & Star

Russ Penn returns to management with Halesowen Town

Former Kidderminster Harriers boss Russ Penn is back in management at Halesowen Town.

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Penn, sacked by National League Harriers last month, has agreed to replace Paul Smith at The Grove after the latter stood down following a run of five matches without a win which dented hopes of promotion from Southern League Central.

Halesowen are a club 38-year-old Penn knows well, with his father Mark having been part of the Yeltz team which reached three FA Vase finals at Wembley during the 1980s, winning two.

It is now the place he will continue a managerial career which began impressively at Harriers. He and assistant Jimmy O’Connor guided the club back to the top flight of non-league through the National League North play-offs last year, while they also embarked on a remarkable FA Cup run during the 2021-22 season, coming within a whisker of knocking out Premier League West Ham in the fourth round.

This season had been a struggle and the pair were dismissed with the club bottom of the National League Premier table.

Penn will meet his new players for the first time on Tuesday to begin preparations for Saturday’s match at Barwell.

Smith’s backroom team of Gary Whild, Martin Riley, Josh Coney and Adam Gilbert will remain on board to assist.

''Russ has a great pedigree within the game both as a pro, non-league and in management and has a strong affinity with the club,” said Yeltz chairman Keith McKenna.

“He has worked at a very high level in non-league and I am absolutely delighted we could attract him.

“He is energetic and focussed on what we want to achieve at this football club and I’m sure he will be a great success.”

Smith, who returned for his second spell as Yeltz boss last March and guided the club to promotion through the Northern League Midland Division play-offs, is staying in a strategic and advisory capacity.

''Paul has done a fantastic job at our football club and has been instrumental in bringing the good days back,” added McKenna.

“It has been a very successful tenure and he should be very proud of his achievements.