Ince pays price for winless run

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The Independent Football

Paul Ince's failure to arrest an 11-match winless slump ultimately cost him his job after Blackburn chairman John Williams admitted the rookie manager had run out of time.

Rovers have not won in the league since 27 September and their precarious 19th position, five points from safety, in the Barclays Premier League forced the club's board to act.

Ince was appointed to his first Premier League job in June on a three-year contract having previously enjoyed success with Macclesfield and MK Dons.

He was preferred over more experienced contenders such as former Bolton and Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce and ex-England and Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren.

However, Saturday's woeful 3-0 defeat to Wigan on Saturday - a sixth successive loss - prompted an emergency board meeting yesterday and Ince was informed of his fate this morning.

"Three wins in 17 games has seen a squad, which finished seventh last season, fall to 19th position," said Williams in a statement.

"We are currently in real danger of becoming detached from the pack.

"The survival of the club in the Premier League is paramount and our focus now is on finding a replacement who will be able to maintain our top division status."

Williams added on Sky Sports News: "It was a very difficult decision.

"It is not something we like to do at all but we have to think first and foremost about the club and our predicament was worrying and we had to make a decision which was in our best interests.

"A poor run of results and a disappointing performance at the weekend, frankly it is time to change in order to help the club secure its [top-flight] status."

After a promising start to the campaign Ince saw performances and results begin to deteriorate and reports began to emerge of dressing room unrest.

The performance, more than the result, at Wigan was one of the worst of their winless spell - which has now equalled the club record last 'achieved' in the 1996-97 season - and proved to be the final straw.

The search is now on for a replacement with former Rovers boss Graeme Souness the favourite to return with possibly Tugay in a player-coach role.

Ex-Bolton and Newcastle manager Allardyce, who was considered in the summer before Ince got the job, appeared to rule himself out of the running at the weekend.

Former Charlton and West Ham boss Alan Curbishley has also been linked with the club.