Race is on to replace Gary Johnson at Bristol City
Gary Johnson is set to leave Bristol City today after more than four years as manager at Ashton Gate.
The 54-year-old has lost the confidence of his players, culminating in a half-time dressing room bust-up involving winger Ivan Sproule during the 3-2 defeat at Plymouth on Tuesday.
Johnson and chairman Steve Lansdown met last night with the manager given the option to resign before he was sacked. A club statement was expected to be released today announcing Johnson's departure, probably by mutual consent.
Johnson took charge in 2005, won promotion in 2007 and took City to the Championship play-off final in 2008.
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He signed a five-year deal in September 2008.
The Londoner has faced heavy criticism from fans following 6-0 and 5-2 home defeats to Cardiff and Doncaster respectively this year.
But it appears the Plymouth incident was the final straw for Lansdown.
The players openly argued with the bench during Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Reading and the discontent continued at Home Park.
Lansdown, the multi- millionaire co-founder of financial services company Hargreaves-Lansdown, is keen to bring World Cup football to a new stadium in Ashton Vale.
But for his club to lose Championship status would be damaging to his attempt to win the support of the Cup bid committee.
City are not yet safe from relegation, although they are seven points clear of the bottom three with nine games to go.
Assistant manager Keith Millen is understood to be taking over as caretaker boss for Saturday's game against Newcastle.
The man who denied City a place in the Premier League in the 2008 play-off final – Phil Brown – will have his supporters to be the new boss.
He was sacked by Hull City this week but he would appear to be a maverick choice.
Safer pairs of hands would be ex-West Ham chief Alan Curbishley – strongly rumoured as a replacement for some time – former Reading boss Steve Coppell and current Doncaster manager Sean O'Driscoll.
If Lansdown wants a young manager he could turn to Gareth Southgate who was dismissed by Middlesbrough in August.
Another bright managerial prospect in the Johnson mould is current Exeter boss Paul Tisdale.
Johnson's departure leaves doubts over the Ashton Gate future of his coaching team, not least his brother and chief scout Pete Johnson.