Championship side Blackburn have announced they have parted company with their manager Owen Coyle “by mutual agreement”.
Two days after nearly securing an FA Cup replay against Manchester United, Rovers and Coyle have gone their separate ways with the club admitting they fear for their Championship status as they are second bottom with only 15 games remaining.
Coyle, who has previously been in charge of Burnley, Bolton and Wigan in the region, only arrived at Ewood Park in the summer having recently managed MLS team Houston Dynamo.
The initial appointment of Coyle, 50, was a surprise given his previous ties with Blackburn’s east-Lancashire rivals Burnley and the fact he had not managed in the country since an ill-fated spell with Wigan in 2013.
Yet his record in elevating the Clarets into the Premier League is believed to have been viewed favourably by Rovers’ Indian owners Venky’s after a four-year absence from the top flight.
However, having assumed a position that Paul Lambert walked away from because he felt he was not going to be backed, the club sold both Grant Hanley and central-defensive partner Shane Duffy at the start of the season and have toiled in the lower reaches ever since.
The club insisted there was money to spend in the January transfer window, but Coyle was left frustrated having seen deals for four players fail to materialise before the deadline.
Having won just twice since November in the league, there is a real fear among supporters that the former Premier League winners could now drop into the third tier.
A statement from the club read: “Blackburn Rovers wish to announce that manager Owen Coyle has left his role at Ewood Park by mutual agreement.
“Assistant manager Sandy Stewart, first-team coach John Henry and goalkeeping coach Phil Hughes have also left the club.
“The decision has been taken in order to give the club the best possible chance of climbing to a position of safety in the Championship in the remaining 15 games, which starts with the big trip to Burton Albion on Friday night.”