Nottingham Forest sack manager Philippe Montanier

Philippe Montanier as Nottingham Forest boss
Philippe Montanier was appointed as Forest boss on a two-year contract in June 2016

Struggling Championship side Nottingham Forest have sacked manager Philippe Montanier after less than seven months in charge.

The 52-year-old leaves after the proposed sale of the club from Fawaz Al Hasawi to a United States-based consortium collapsed on Friday.

Forest are three points above the relegation zone in 20th after Saturday's goalless draw at Birmingham.

The Reds have taken just two points from a possible 21 since 11 December.

Frenchman Montanier, who took over at the City Ground in June, having left his job as boss of Rennes in January 2016, is the seventh permanent manager to depart the City Ground since the Al Hasawi family's takeover in July 2012.

His exit comes three months after Forest's director of football Pedro Pereira left his role at the club - a post the Portuguese held for four months.

Montanier's position had been under scrutiny for a number of weeks with the prospective takeover of the two-time former European Cup holders seemingly nearing a conclusion and expected to prompt changes.

Travelling Forest fans against owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, who says his sale of the club to a United States-based consortium led by John Jay Moores has collapsed
Owner Fawaz Al Hasawi drew heavy criticism from Nottingham Forest fans, with a small group protesting at St Andrew's, after the sale of the club to a US consortium collapsed

The collapse of the takeover and the Reds' first point away from home for six weeks, ending a five-game losing run in all competitions, was not enough to save his job.

The goalless draw at St Andrew's was just the second clean sheet in 30 matches in all competitions this season, as the Reds have the worst defensive record of any Championship club apart from bottom side Rotherham.

However, only five teams, including the league's top two sides, have scored more goals in 25 league games this term.

Montanier, who previously managed Real Sociedad, Boulogne and Valenciennes, was unable to strengthen his squad in January with the Championship club only coming out of their transfer embargo on Friday, following a delay in submitting audited accounts.

Captain Henri Lansbury has also been absent from the side recently through injury and while there is uncertainly about his future, with Derby County, Aston Villa and Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic having all been linked with a move for the midfielder.

'Focus remains on the team'

Following Saturday's draw at Birmingham, in what was his last news conference as boss, Montanier remained focused on trying to build the squad, while admitting he was also under pressure.

"The role of the head coach or manager is always in danger. It is part of my job," he said.

"I have told the owners that the most important thing is the team and the club, not my position. I am not selfish, I am always focused on the team.

"We now have to plan quickly to strengthen the squad. Decisions have to be taken now, instead of two or three days before the deadline.

"It is difficult because we do not have any money but I need to know exactly what I can plan and decide. I have targets but I do not know my budget. I need to have a meeting with the chairman for some advice on what we can do together."

Gary Brazil, Forest's academy manager, has been put in temporary charge while the East Midlands club looks for a new boss.

Analysis

Former Nottingham Forest and England midfielder Steve Hodge told BBC Radio Nottingham

Forest are fourth from bottom, he hasn't been great, there have been too many defeats and too many goals against - it hasn't been a good season.

This team today against Birmingham got a decent point, but would you bank on it saving Forest? You probably wouldn't and it is a squad that isn't particularly united.

It has been a mish-mash of a season so far.

Next week it's at home to Bristol City, who have lost again today and are on a real downward curve at the moment. It is a real winnable game, but likewise they will be thinking 'we need a result and where better to go is Forest who can't win a game?' It is a huge game for both clubs - next week is vital.

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