Blackburn Rovers have sacked manager Michael Appleton after just over two months in charge, the Indian-owned English second-tier club announced on Tuesday.
Appleton becomes the third manager to leave Blackburn this season.
“Blackburn Rovers FC can confirm that Michael Appleton has been relieved of his duties as manager along with assistant manager Ashley Westwood, first team coach Darren Moore and head of senior recruitment Luke Dowling,” read a statement on the club Web site.
Blackburn lost to Millwall in the FA Cup quarter-finals last week and were left in 18th place in the 24-team Championship, four points above the relegation zone, after a 1-1 draw with local rivals Burnley on Sunday.
Appleton released a statement on Twitter through his representatives the Sports PR Company, which read: “I am disappointed to be leaving Blackburn Rovers. I would like to thank the players and wish them all the best for the rest of the season.”
“I would also like to say thanks to the fans who have made me feel so welcome over the past few months,” he said.
Appleton only joined Blackburn in January, having left Blackpool after just 65 days at the club.
He lasted only two days longer in the Rovers job, winning four, drawing five and losing six of his 15 matches at the helm.
Blackburn, owned by Indian poultry firm Venky’s, now find themselves looking for a fourth full-time head coach this season.
Steve Kean said he was “forced to resign” in September because his position had become “untenable,” while his successor, former Blackburn defender Henning Berg, lasted just 57 days before being sacked in December.
Venky’s also fired Sam Allardyce as manager shortly after taking over the club in November 2010, when Blackburn were 13th in the Premier League.
The move to sack Appleton drew strong criticism from some of the club’s supporters.
“This is just the latest in a long line of incomprehensible and ill-thought out decisions that go back to the very start of the Venky’s ownership of Blackburn,” said Wayne Wild, co-chairman of supporters group the Rovers Trust.
“It is obvious to any experienced fan or football professional that to keep changing managers — we are now looking for our sixth [including caretakers] this season — will only lead to yet more instability and uncertainty,” Wild said.
“It is also a costly exercise to keep paying off staff,” he said. “The owners have to face up to the fact they are entirely responsible for the situation we find ourselves in with a second successive relegation a distinct possibility.”