DABBERS boss Dave Cooke has left the club to join Nationwide Conference league leaders Northwich Victoria as joint assistant manager.
Cooke quit Jackson Avenue just hours after posing for the Chronicle s start-of-season team photo and immediately took top scorer Jon Dawson with him.
He joins forces with ex-Crewe Alex defender Steve Davis under Jimmy Quinn at the Drill Field.
Nantwich will advertise the position with Lester Norbury and Mark Gardiner taking charge of team affairs until a permanent appointment is made.
Nantwich chairman Clive Jackson said: 'It is no surprise to me that Dave has joined Jimmy Quinn and I'm aware of the fact that Dave has been pondering the move for some time.
'I'm very disappointed in the respect that we have long-term objectives for this football club and we are nowhere near to fulfilling them, although Dave has left us in a far better position playing-wise than when he took over.
'I understand that Dave wants to manage at the highest level, but it's a bad time of the season for it to happen for us and I'm a little surprised he has gone to Northwich as a joint assistant.
'That said, Dave goes with my personal best wishes and those of the football club.'
Jackson, who will also take on the duties of director of football for the time being, stressed that he hopes to name a successor within the next month.
'We are inviting applications and Nantwich Town has always attracted a high quality of applicant for the manager's role.
'Lester and Mark are the sitting tenants and I would hope to receive a joint application from them highlighting who will manage and who will take another role. But it would be wrong of us not to consider other applications.'
Cooke, who scouted for Quinn at Reading and Swindon, said: 'It was a very difficult decision to take but I feel it's an opportunity I have to take. I believe I have left Nantwich in a healthy position and look forward to seeing them build on the structure we have tried to put in place.'
Lester Norbury added: 'Mark Gardiner and I would definitely be interested in doing the job permanently and we will be running the team for the time being. I am disappointed to see Dave go but I understand how hard it must have been for him.
'Mark and I know the players and hopefully we can build on last season.'
The Dabbers also lost teenage striker Jon Dawson to Northwich, with the 18-year-old joining Vics on Monday morning. He had scored four goals in Town's first three games of the season and Nantwich are hoping Northwich will agree a substantial sell-on clause as part of the deal.
Jackson said: 'We are also disappointed about Jon. But the fact is I have offered the best ever package to a manager and a player at Nantwich Town in the last few weeks but it has not been enough to keep them here.'
Town, who have suffered back-to-back home defeats against Glossop and Woodley Sports in the last week, were at Congleton last night. They visit Leek CSOB in the preliminary round of the FA Cup on Saturday before returning home for a league game against Kidsgrove next Tuesday.
Nantwich are at Bradford-based Thackley in the preliminary round of the FA Youth Cup tonight.
Applications for the manager's position should be sent in writing to: Clive Jackson, chairman, Nantwich Town FC, Jackson Avenue, Nantwich.