Andy Woodman finished last season in the Wembley technical area at the FA Cup final.

Now the former Crystal Palace goalkeeping coach hopes there will be rather more reason for celebration in a very different season finale – by helping Whitehawk beat the drop in National League south.

Alan Pardew’s right-hand man down the years took charge for the first time at training last night after becoming Hawks’ sixth manager in a year.

He is being assisted by former Crawley Town man Jimmy Dack.

Hawks today signed 20-year-old former Palace and Dover defender Jahmal Howlett-Mundle but there will be no immediate big influx of new players as they prepare for tomorrow’s trip to Dartford.

The Argus:

Andy Woodman, of Colchester, denies Bobby Zamora during his playing days

Woodman coached Hawks goalkeeper Tom Stewart at Palace and wanted to keep him but the club were unable to offer him a deal.

Other than that, and apart from seeing Kevin Lisbie score a hat-trick for Colchester against his Charlton side, Woodman has not come across the Hawks players before, though he knows some of the names.

He was getting to know them an awful lot more last night with no preconceived ideas as to who will be his main men in the fight against the drop.

Woodman has ambitions to progress as a manager in his own right but he told The Argus: “The only thing in my mind at the moment is these 18 games and making sure this club stays where it wants and needs to be.

“I know a few of the names here in the squad but I am not really familiar with anyone and I hope that works in my favour.

“It means every shirt is up for grabs. There are no reputations because I don’t know the players.

“Everyone has a clean slate and those who have been in the team have to prove they can keep the shirt.

“There are others who have not been playing who now have a great opportunity.

“I would be mad not to bring players in because something is not working here.

“I will be bringing players in but the message I will be getting across is, if you have a shirt, do all you can to keep it.

“Jimmy will be a big help for me. I’ve played under him and seen him work.

“He is someone who knows the lower leagues as well as anybody. He has been looking at games this season and his knowledge is invaluable.”

The Argus:

Alan Pardew is delighted to Woodman land the Hawks job

Woodman had playing success at Northampton and has become known as a goalkeeping coach but he says there is a lot more to him than that.

He added: “Goalkeeping coach has been my role and my title but anyone who knows me knows my job has been more than that.

“I’ve been working right alongside Alan ever since we were at West Ham.

“I’ve spoken to him about this job and he is really excited about me getting the chance to come down here and cut my teeth in the managerial world. He will be coming to watch at some stage.”

Woodman will seek advice from Pardew when appropriate.

He said: “I would be mad not to.”

Paul Reid, who was Hawks’ latest boss alongside Alan Payne, is expected to remain at the club as a player.

The centre-back is currently ruled out by a calf injury.

Reminded of how he finished last season, Woodman said: “I know people always say it but football really is a funny old game.

“From the FA Cup final to Whitehawk!

“But I’ve been in this business for 25 years and I’m excited about being back out on the grass.

“Hopefully by the end of this May we will be celebrating keeping Whitehawk up.”