Sutton United manager Paul Doswell has handed control of team affairs to his assistant Ian Baird for the rest of the season due to personal reasons.

Speaking at a packed Q&A session on Monday evening, Doswell revealed he needs to put his family first and take a break from the game for a few months.

‘’Ian and I have been together here for five years and he has been a huge part of the success we’ve had,” said Doswell.

“I’m sure he, along with Micky Stephens, Matt Gray, Seb Brown and the rest of the team will do a great job.

“I’ve been putting everything in to the job here for 11 years, and for personal reasons I do need to take a break now.

“But, I’m looking forward to being back in early July refreshed and looking forward to the new season.’’ Doswell was appointed as Sutton manager back in May 2008 after the club suffered relegation from the National South.

He set about rebuilding the club and has drastically transformed the fortunes and profile of the U’s both on and off the field.

While Doswell’s enthusiasm for football and the club itself is there for all to see, it’s clear that making the trip to the Knights Community Stadium from his Hampshire home several times a week — coupled with his family concerns — has had an impact.

“I have had 11 years of non-stop two hours coming up and two hours going back on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and it’s time for me to have a break,” he said.

“It has been a tough season for a lot of reasons away from the pitch.

“Eleven years of driving this football club forward has taken its toll.

“’I’ve probably put too much heart and soul into this club and I’ve got to manage my time better for my own health and wellbeing.”

Baird has taken the helm several times over the years when Doswell has been away.

The former Leeds United striker revealed he had recently put the idea to the Sutton boss that perhaps this was the time to take a step back.

“Everyone will be shocked,” he said. “But, I think I’ve got to take the praise for it.

“Everyone who knows Dos knows he lives and breathes this football club. I think I am OK to say he’s an absolute fruitcake, but in the right way.

“There’s been a couple of instances this year where Dos hasn’t been right.

“I said to him a couple of weeks ago ‘look, you’ve got to get your head right here’ and I flippantly said ‘why don’t you take the season off.’

“I didn’t think he would do it, but it’s the best thing for him, his family and this football club.

“He’ll come back ready to take this club to the next step, or where it needs to be, but believe me, he needs it.”

Sutton have endured a dip in form recently but Doswell signed off in style as the U’s came from two goals down to beat Gateshead 4-2 last Saturday.

Dylan Kearney scored his first goal in Sutton colours to kick-start the comeback in the 51st minute.

James Dobson then converted a 63rd-minute penalty to restore parity before defender Dean Beckwith popped up with two late goals to secure all three points.

The U’s are currently ninth in the Vanarama National League, four points outside the play-off places.

Baird’s first game in charge of Sutton will be Saturday’s showdown with Chesterfield which is being screened live on BT Sport. Kick-off is 12.30pm.

The sides battled out a 1-1 draw back in October.