BRIAN Pritchard has resigned as Witton Albion manager after only four games of the season.

The club announced his departure in a brief statement issued in the moments following the final whistle in today’s Northern Premier League encounter with Marine.

The Guardian can reveal that a decision was made during a meeting on Thursday, during which the 39-year-old agreed to a request from chairman Mark Harris to pick the team for both Premier Division matches over the Bank Holiday weekend.

“Brian Pritchard has asked to leave his post as first team manager at Witton Albion for work and personal reasons,” read the statement.

“The club can confirm it has reluctantly granted his wish.

“We would like to thank him for everything he has done, and where he has taken us to.

“We will now start the search for a successor, but won’t be rushed into making an appointment.”

It added that the remaining members of Witton’s management team – Anthony Sheehan, Nigel Deeley and Dave Andrew – will together take training this week.

If required, then they will be in charge for Saturday’s match at Whitby Town.

Pritchard, who holds the club record for appearances as a player, took over as manager in the summer of 2011 following a temporary spell sharing the job with Dave MacPherson.

He guided Witton to promotion from Division One North in his first season following a play-offs final victory against Curzon Ashton.

Albion then finished fourth in the top flight the following term, only to lose to FC United of Manchester in a play-offs semi final.

They were on course to be relegated last year before he persuaded Alex Titchiner to return to Wincham Park, the striker scoring eight times to help the club secure survival.

More to follow.