Steve McNamara's reign as Bulls boss has been brought to a premature end.

The 38-year-old today departed Odsal by mutual consent despite having more than two months left to run on his contract.

Appointed England coach in April, McNamara had initially been due to see out the season with Bradford before assuming national-team duties full-time ahead of the autumn's Four Nations tournament.

But he appears to have paid the price for a run of eight straight defeats that has seen his side slip out of the Super League play-off places, raising the previously unthinkable possibility of missing out on a post-season spot for the second year running.

Assistant Lee St Hilaire will step up to take caretaker charge until the end of the season, while McNamara is free to assume England duties ahead of schedule.

A club statement said: "The club thanks Steve for his commitment and unstinting hard work as head coach since 2006.

"His legacy at the club is a youth development system that will pay dividends for the club for many years to come."

McNamara added: “I should like to thank all the players and staff at this great club for their undivided commitment whilst I have been in charge. I wish the club every success, now and in the future."

The shock news comes against the background of the Bulls' continued search for a successor to McNamara, who agreed to become England boss in April.

St Helens coach Mick Potter remains the favourite for the role, with an announcement expected in the near future.