Nottingham Forest sack Billy Davies after 5-0 drubbing by Derby County, with Neil Warnock the favourite to step in

Davies was only awarded a new contract in October

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Nottingham Forest have confirmed the sacking of Billy Davies after 13 months at the City Ground, as first revealed on Independent online Sunday night. It is the second time the combustible Scot has been fired by Forest in three years having been dismissed in 2011 after successive play-off failures.

Neil Warnock is favourite to replace Davies, it is hoped in time for tomorrow night's home match with Charlton Athletic, but it is understood the deal is far from done-and-dusted with some late hitches.

Davies only signed a four-year contract extension in October and looked set to take Forest back into the top flight as recently as six weeks ago as they homed in on the automatic promotion places after a 13-match unbeaten run. However, they then lost to League One Sheffield United in the FA Cup and have since taken three points from 21 to slip out of the play-off places.

With relations behind the scenes deteriorating Fawaz Al Hasawi, the Kuwaiti owner, lost patience with a man of whom he said in October, "I look forward with great excitement to working alongside him for many years to come as we aim to bring success back to this magnificent club."

The Al Hasawis.are now looking for their fifth manager in less than two years with Warnock, who led neighbours Notts County to successive promotions at the beginning of his long career, the leading candidate Warnock has met Al Hasawi and other Forest officials on Sunday and Monday, and has lined up a coaching staff and identified potential loan signings, but an agreement as yet to be reached.

Warnock, who has won a record-equalling seven promotions, would be a short-term appointment with a simple brief: get the club up. His last promotion was with QPR in 2011 but he subsequently had a less happy spell with Leeds United. Forest have to go to both clubs in the run-in.

Davies' fate was sealed by a 5-0 drubbing by geographical and promotion rivals Derby County at the weekend. Even with a lengthy injury-list this capitulation, after a pre-season £9m investment, was seen as the final straw.