Nottingham Forest sacked Billy Davies on Monday afternoon, but talks to install Neil Warnock as his replacement have hit a stumbling block.
Davies returned to the City Ground 13 months ago for a second spell at the helm, having previously been dismissed in 2011 for successive playoff failures. And despite signing a four-year contract as recently as October, the club’s Kuwaiti owners have lost patience with him following a poor run of form which has seen them slip out of the top-six.
This is a huge disappointment for the Reds, who earlier this term embarked on a 13-match unbeaten run which put them in the frame for automatic promotion. But after taking just three points from their last seven fixtures, they are now 19 adrift of second-placed Burnley, whilst they have fallen two points behind Reading in the final playoff spot.
They have also been eliminated from the FA Cup by League One side Sheffield United, and the final straw came on Saturday afternoon when they were embarrassed against rivals Derby County, who eased to a 5-0 win at Pride Park. It is understood Davies was informed of the decision to terminate his contract on Sunday, and this was confirmed on Monday.
Club owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi said in a statement on the official club website: “I would like to place on record my gratitude to Billy Davies for all his efforts as manager of Nottingham Forest Football Club. I wish him all the best for the future. I am aware many people expect me to announce a new manager imminently, however I must stress the need for patience as I make the important decision of who takes the reins at this crucial stage of the season.
“I will keep our supporters informed of any developments, but in the meantime I ask everyone to get behind our Academy manager Gary Brazil as he takes charge of first-team affairs until a permanent appointment is made. Gary has carried out some terrific work with our younger players and I am delighted he has agreed to take temporary charge.”
Neil Warnock, meanwhile, held talks with Al-Hasawi on Monday. The 65-year-old, who has previously won promotion to the top-flight with Notts County, Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers, has been out of the managerial loop since parting company with Leeds United last April, and was tipped to take charge of Forest for the rest of the season.
However, talks between the two parties have broken down. Quoted in The Independent, Warnock, who was linked with Sheffield Wednesday earlier this season before the Owls opted for Stuart Gray, said: “I did not feel the conditions of the job were right for me to manage. I wish them well for the remainder of the season.”