NORTHWICH Victoria start today a search for a fifth manager of the calendar year after Andy Mutch walked out following Saturday’s defeat against Belper Town.

The former Burscough boss tendered his resignation in the minutes after nine-man Vics’ 2-1 reverse, which leaves them four points adrift of the play-offs places.

Coach Adriano Rigoglioso quit too.

“Andy has grown fed up with the players’ performances,” said owner Jim Rushe.

“I told him I’d rather he changed the team than leave himself, but he said he’d brought those lads to the club and had to hold up his hands for recent results.”

Vics had won only one of their previous four matches before losing to the Nailers, a game in which Christian Peach and Joe Guest were both sent off.

Leaders Coalville Town are 21 points better off, although Northwich have played two less matches to date.

“We’d like to thank Andy and Adriano for their hard work and effort at a difficult time for the club,” read a statement on Vics’ official website on Saturday.

Alan Wright is likely to pick the team when Vics play Northwich Villa in the Mid-Cheshire FA Senior Cup at Flixton on Wednesday, kick off 7.45pm.

Andy Preece left the club placed second in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division and through to the last 16 of the FA Trophy in January.

His replacement, Paul Simpson, accepted a coaching role in Portugal following Vics’ exit from the competition at the quarter finals stage, handing over to Martin Foyle.

The ex-York City boss parted company with Northwich in the summer to take charge at Hereford United.

Wright acted as assistant to both Simpson and Foyle, a job he agreed to continue in when Mutch accepted Rushe’s invitation to build a new team in the summer.

He could not call upon a single one of last season’s playing staff, who quit following Vics’ forced demotion from the Northern Premier League’s top tier as a punishment for breaking finance rules.

On the pitch, they had finished as runners-up to Chester but were banned from taking part in the play-offs as part of the club’s sanction.