Widnes have announced that Kieron Purtill has resigned as head coach.
Purtill signed a new one-year deal with the club less than two months ago, but the Vikings report he has now decided to take up an offer at a Super League club as part of their backroom coaching staff.
In a statement, the club say they are “extremely disappointed with this decision, given that we are currently in the middle of recruiting and retaining players ahead of the 2020 campaign and with pre-season training due to start next month.”
The statement adds: “The club is in a crucial transitional phase from a full-time to a part-time operation, and this decision naturally presents a number of unwanted issues for the club over the coming weeks.
“The club understands that supporters would prefer an immediate resolution to this issue, however we are determined to conduct a thorough and extensive search to find a coach that is the right person to take Widnes Vikings forward.
“As a result of this, the club will take all the necessary time and precautions to ensure that an appointment is made in the best interest of the club’s future rather than rushing into a decision.
“Becoming head coach of a club as decorated as this one is a huge opportunity for anyone in rugby league, and while we are in a rebuilding phase we need to find the right person with the right skillset.
“The search is now underway to appoint a successor who will be dedicated to the club’s cause, and when a deal is finalised to bring in a replacement an announcement will be made.
“The club will be making no further comment on this matter.”