BOURNEMOUTH chairman Denis Eveleigh has confirmed that director of rugby Budge Pountney will stand down at the end of the season for personal reasons.

The club’s hierarchy are due to meet with coaching staff and the first-team squad at training tonight to discuss plans for next season, talks which will now be dominated by the former Scotland captain’s departure.

Despite winning four of his first six matches, a 15-match losing streak between October and February saw Pountney endure a torrid maiden campaign, a run which made Lions near-certainties for the drop from National Two South.

Three wins from five in March gave Bournemouth a lifeline, but with four games remaining they remain second bottom of the pile, 14 points adrift of safety and, dependent on results elsewhere, could be relegated should they suffer defeat at Southend on Saturday (3pm).

However, despite Lions’ dismal campaign, Eveleigh insisted Pountney’s “very unfortunate” decision to leave was “entirely his own” and had nothing to do with on-field matters.

Eveleigh told the Daily Echo: “Budge is standing down due to a change in his personal circumstances meaning he cannot commit the necessary time to his role.

“It is very unfortunate and he is as disappointed as we are. I cannot stress enough that Budge’s decision was entirely his own and that it had nothing to do with anything other than the constraints on his own time.”

Having known about Pountney’s possible departure “for a while”, Eveleigh added that the club had been “making plans” but had yet to line up a successor prior to speaking with the players.

When approached by the Daily Echo, head coach Paul Dunne ruled himself out of the running for the main job but declared his intention to carry on in his current position, while it is understood that the rest of the backroom staff would like to stay put.

Pountney was unavailable for comment.

Lions: (from) Lynch, Roberts, Stewart, Chislett, Westcott, Metters, Hardcastle, Spikings, Wilford, Wiseman, Peart, Rees, Hart, Hughes, Dunkerley, Booth, Khamoian, Burns, Scott, Sutherland, Berthonneau, Manning, Firetto, Vaughan-Edwards, Bovett.