Craig Levein was last night sacked as manager of Leicester City after a terrible run of results at the Walkers Stadium. The assistant manager, Rob Kelly, and the goalkeeping coach, Mike Stowell, have been placed in temporary charge of the club on a game-to-game basis and will start with this weekend's FA Cup tie against Southampton.
The former Sunderland manager Peter Reid, out of work since leaving Coventry last season, is one of the leading candidates to be offered the job until the end of the season.
The former Leicester midfielder Gary McAllister is also firmly in the frame and would be a more popular choice among the supporters.
Levein, along with most of his back-room staff, was shown the door after a short board meeting yesterday afternoon - bringing to an end his 14-month reign - following his appointment in November 2004.
Levein said: "Peter Houston, Kenny Black and myself are disappointed to be leaving the club. We came down to Leicester in November 2004 and, with the full co-operation of the board of directors, embarked upon a long-term strategy to reduce the wage bill, reduce the average age of the team and build the foundations for the long-term success of Leicester.
"We felt we were making significant progress in those areas and, with the introduction of players such as Richard Stearman, Patrick McCarthy and Stephen Hughes among others, we feel the club has some valuable assets upon which the future can be built.
"However, we understand the board has taken the view that the results were causing them major concern and have taken the decision to terminate our contracts. We wish the club every success in the future and are certain that the club will reap the benefits from the work we have put in."
Tuesday night's defeat against Plymouth, a sixth in a row, brought matters to a head and the club's chief executive, Tim Davies, and fellow board members felt they could no longer leave the Scot in charge.
Levein was hailed as one of the best young Scottish managers when he joined from Heart of Midlothian, but a run of just two points from their last 10 games has seen the Foxes plunge into the relegation zone.
* Celtic last night insisted John Hartson is not for sale and will not be moving to Portsmouth this month. A Celtic spokesman said: "Celtic carries out its business in a professional manner. Celtic will not be accepting any bids for John Hartson." The striker has spoken of the strain of being apart from his two children, who returned to Wales after he split up with his wife, Lowri. Hartson who suggested he could one day play for the club he supported as a boy, Swansea, insisted that he has "never thought about leaving" Celtic.Reuse content