IT is the end of an era for Winsford United.

On Sunday evening, it was announced that manager Lee Duckworth had parted company with the club after almost nine years in the role.

It brings to an end a lengthy association with Blues for Duckworth, who also made more than 300 appearances for the club as a player before taking the managerial reins in October 2015.

Josh Hine – a member of the first-team coaching set-up – has agreed to take on the role in an interim capacity and will take charge of the team for tomorrow’s home game against Cheadle Heath Nomads.

Duckworth leaves the club in the North West Counties League Division One South relegation zone – they sit 18th and five points from safety with six games of their league season remaining.

His final game in charge proved to be Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Sandbach United and in a statement released on Sunday, chairman Mike Unwin explained the decision was reached mutually after “positive discussions” with Duckworth.

“Today, March 24th, the board met with manager Lee Duckworth to discuss the future of the team going forward.

“After positive discussions the club and Mr Duckworth came to a mutual agreement to part ways with one another, with Mr Duckworth stepping down from his role with immediate effect.

“The club would like to thank Lee for the loyalty and commitment he has given to this club as manager and player throughout his time at Winsford United."

The season has been an intensely difficult one for Blues, who were voluntarily demoted to Step Six of the National League System in order to remain within the North West Counties League.

That came after initially being moved laterally into the Midland Football League alongside neighbours Northwich Victoria, with both clubs’ appeals against the decision being rejected by the FA.