Birmingham have appointed Lee Bowyer as their head coach after parting company with Aitor Karanka.
The club said Karanka had “stepped down” after three wins in 19 league matches left Birmingham 21st in the Championship, three points clear of 22nd-placed Rotherham, who have four games in hand.
Karanka had said on Saturday he intended to carry on and there was “no chance” he would resign.
Bowyer’s arrival, confirmed minutes after Karanka’s departure was announced, comes the day after he left Charlton. He has a deal until June 2023 and Birmingham said he had taken training on Tuesday morning.
“The board of directors identified Bowyer as their number one candidate, highlighting his man-management skills and motivational qualities as paramount,” the club said.
The former midfielder spent two and a half seasons with Birmingham as a player, after initially joining on loan from West Ham in January 2009. He won the League Cup there in 2011 but left a few months later following relegation to the Championship.
“I’m absolutely delighted and it’s great to be back,” he told Birmingham’s website. “I’ve already seen some of the old faces from when I was here last and I’m just really looking forward to getting to work.
“My priority is to lift everybody. Not just the players, the staff as well. It seems like it’s not been in a very good place, so I’ve got to lift them.
“I’ve got to try and implement what I want very quickly. The team will improve, I have no doubt about that but we already have a good base to work with. I’m gutted the fans aren’t here because I know the part they would play.”