Ramsbottom United have parted company with manager Lee Donafee, the club has announced.

Donafee joined the Rams in October 2018, initially as assistant manager before taking charge several years later following Chris Willock’s departure.

He guided the club to a 15th-place finish last season but they currently sit bottom of the Northern Premier League West Division.

Chairman Harry Williams is sorry to see Donafee leave but felt they had no other option heading into the business stage of the season.

“Lee has been part of the set-up here at Ramsbottom for five years, during which time he has also become a firm friend,” he said.

“We’ve given him as much time as we could in the hope that he could turn around the poor results, but with the season end fast approaching, we felt that we had no other option than to look elsewhere, in the hope that a new appointment could bring about a change of fortune.

“Lee has been a model pro during his time with us, and we are genuinely sorry to have to part ways, and we sincerely wish him well for the future. He will always be welcomed back at Ramsbottom.”

The club say a new management team will be announced in “due course”.

The Rams had failed to win any of their last six matches under Donafee and are now seven points from safety, although they have played a game fewer than the sides above them.

They are back in league action on Saturday afternoon when they make the trip to Skelmersdale United (3pm).