Heath in the frame as Reid steps down at Coventry

No Longer will instructions from the Coventry City dugout be barked in broad scouse. Peter Reid resigned yesterday as manager of the club lying 20th in the Coca-Cola Championship, leaving his assistant Adrian Heath with the chance to stake his claim for the job as Coventry prepare for tomorrow's FA Cup tie at home to Crewe Alexandra.

Reid, who was subjected to calls for his dismissal during Monday's 2-1 home defeat by his previous club, Leeds United, informed the Coventry chairman, Mike McGinnity, on Wednesday of his decision. McGinnity said that the former Everton and England midfielder had told him it was "time to go our separate ways," and saying he had "taken the club as far as I can".

Heath, 43, who played alongside Reid at Everton and Manchester City as well as working under him at Sunderland and Leeds, informed Reid he would depart in solidarity with his colleague. Reid persuaded him to stay, however, and Heath, who previously managed Burnley and Sheffield United, may well be offered the opportunity to take charge at Highfield Road.

Whoever is appointed faces a tough task, with Coventry just above the relegation zone. Although the former Premiership club will move to a new stadium on the outskirts of the city next season, they are not in a position to buy players - a plight that may deter some out-of-work managers. Among Heath's rivals for the post are likely to be Terry Yorath and Micky Adams, both former Coventry players, John Gregory and Dave Bassett.

McGinnity, a former West Bromwich Albion director, dismissed a popular but unproven manager, Eric Black, who is now coach to Birmingham City, in order to accommodate Reid's experience last May. Coventry won only 10 of 31 games under the Merseysider's management, but McGinnity said: "As a club, we have been under-achieving, but don't put all the blame on Peter Reid. Players must also be accountable and you've got to look at the restraints he was working under.

"I had an excellent working relationship with Peter and there has been total honesty between us. I wish him well. Adrian is taking the weekend game, but I will now call a board meeting, as I do with all big decisions affecting the club, and we'll take it from there. All I know is that if this is the new year, then I'm not looking forward to it."

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