Steve McClaren has been sacked by Derby County for a second time, after the former England manager was dismissed after only five months in charge.
Derby County chairman, Mel Morris, claims the Rams acted following a "significant, unexpected and persistent decline in results, team unity and morale", he continued "We need a manager who shares our values and who is prepared to develop the team."
The Rams were 20th in the Championship table when McClaren returned to Pride Park, with just ten points from their opening eleven games under his predecessor, Nigel Pearson. A swift upturn in fortunes saw Derby in the top six at the end of January, but under McClaren they have managed just one win in their last nine league games.
McClaren become the Championship's second managerial casualty of the weekend, after Alex Neil was sacked by Norwich City. Both managers have seemingly paid the price for underachieving, neither side will now have any realistic expectations of finishing in the play-offs this season - a minimum requirement at the start of the season for two of the league's biggest clubs.
The play-off places are finely poised going into the final two months of the season. With Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield all battling it out for the two automatic promotion places, the team that finishes third will more than likely be joined in the play-offs by any three from four teams. Leeds, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday currently occupy positions four to six but in-form Fulham are looming ominously in seventh.
After their hugely impressive 3-1 win away to Newcastle United at the weekend, Fulham are now just two points adrift of the play-off places, with a game in hand over all the teams above them.
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