Rochdale appoint Gary Thornton as head coach on permanent basis

Josh McAllister

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Rochdale Hornets have appointed Gary Thornton as their new permanent head coach until the end of the 2023 campaign. 

Thornton, 59, has been leading the club on an interim basis following the departure of Matt Calland earlier this year. He initially joined the Hornets as assistant coach ahead of the current campaign.

The League 1 side defeated rivals Oldham in their play-off elimination tie and will travel to North Wales Crusaders in the elimination semi-final next weekend.

Gary Thornton: ‘I’m working hard to put a competitive squad together’

Thornton said: “I’d like to thank Andy Mazey and Steve Kerr for giving me the opportunity to lead the club into the 2023 season. When I originally came in, to assist Matt, I had no plans to resume a head coach’s role and was just happy to be back doing what I enjoy – coaching rugby league.

“But obviously things changed with the unfortunate departure of Matt – who I have the utmost respect for as a knowledgeable and technically astute rugby league coach – and when I was asked to take over until the end of this season, I agreed as I thought it would give the lads some stability.

“Since then, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time and have had a fantastic response and support from the players and supporters, which has fuelled my decision to continue into 2023.

“We still have plenty to play for this season as we go into the final stages of the play-offs. But, whatever happens, I am planning for next season already and it will be another tough year but one we should look to with optimism.

“I’m working hard to put a competitive squad together, who will give their all on the pitch for this famous club.”

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