ANDY Preece's contract as player/manager of Bury Football Club has been terminated by mutual consent, according to the club's website.

A statement reads: "This action has been necessitated by the need to make a significant reduction in expenditure in this financial year ending May, 2004.

"The board of directors would like to record their gratitude to Andy Preece for his hard work and loyalty throughout the last four difficult years.

"Graham Barrow has taken on the role of caretaker manager for the foreseeable future whilst the board appoint a new chairman and review in detail team affairs."

Bury Times Sports Editor Phil Thorp reported on Saturday's defeat at home to rivals Rochdale: "A DIABOLICAL first half display was the main reason why the Shakers went down to a second home defeat in four weeks against struggling local rivals Rochdale.

Andy Preece's side were quite simply pitiful and the big question at the interval was how the Spotland side had not added to their one goal lead, courtesy of on-loan Andy Bishop.

The Shakers, who have now lost four on the bounce, clearly had not learned any lessons from last months' disappointing FA Cup first round defeat by their near neighbours

Alan Buckley's men arrived on the back of a six game losing sequence, yet they looked at least two divisions higher than the home side in a one-sided first period."

It follows last week's news that Albert Doweck had resigned as Bury FC chairman after only five months at the helm.

The club issued a surprise statement on Tuesday lunchtime stating that the chairman "feels the club is moving in the right direction and that he has achieved as much as he is able at this point in time".