FORMER York City Knights head coach Gary Thornton has left Betfred League One side Hunslet RLFC.

Thornton, who was at the helm at York from 2012 to 2014, prior to the appointment of current boss James Ford, was sacked by Hunslet on Tuesday following their surprise 46-44 defeat at Coventry Bears.

Hunslet had led 44-22 heading into the game's final stages but a remarkable Coventry comeback saw them rally to dramatically secure the win.

The South Leeds club have four wins, one draw and four defeats from their first nine league fixtures this year and currently sit fifth in the table, occupying the division's penultimate play-off place.

Ex-Batley Bulldogs and Doncaster RLFC coach Thornton was made Hunslet coach in 2018 and led the Parksiders to the play-offs the following, eventually suffering defeat to Workington Town at the elimination final stage.

Hunslet chairman Kenny Sykes said: “Sunday’s defeat follows a number of disappointing performances and results already this season.

"After due consideration the board has decided that a change of coach is needed to hopefully reinvigorate the squad and give us the best chance of success this season.”

He added: “We are very grateful to Gary for all his hard work over the last four years, particularly in dealing with a number of challenging logistical issues over Covid in the last twelve months, which were critical in getting us back playing.

“We wish him every success in the future.”

Hunslet say that they "are considering their options in terms of a replacement and will make a further announcement shortly."

Assistant coach Mark Cass - a former Batley and Hunslet player - will take temporary charge of training and this weekend's home game against North Wales Crusaders.