FORMER York City Knights boss Gary Thornton will take charge of Rochdale Hornets until the end of the season following Matt Calland's departure.

Calland left Rochdale by mutual consent after the Hornets' 53-22 home defeat to fellow Betfred League One play-off rivals Swinton Lions on Sunday.

That defeat was only Rochdale's fourth from 15 league matches, although they sit eight points behind 100 per cent division leaders Keighley Cougars.

Thornton, who had been serving as assistant coach since December, has stepped up to the hot seat until the end of the season, succeeding Calland, who had been in charge since 2019.

"Rochdale Hornets can confirm that Matt Calland has left his role as head coach by mutual consent," read a Rochdale statement.

"The club would like to place on record our thanks for Matt's dedication, hard work and passion for the job.

"Matt played a vital role in stabilising the club, whilst bringing forward young talented players from the Hopwood Hall Academy.

"We wish Matt every success for the future.

"Gary Thornton will now lead the team until the end of the season.

"All fans are urged to get behind Gary and the players as we travel to Doncaster in round 16 next weekend."

Former Batley Bulldogs, Doncaster and Hunslet boss Thornton took charge of York through the 2013 and 2014 seasons, with the Knights relegated from the Championship in the former and reaching the Championship One (now League One) play-off semi-finals in the latter.