KARANKA OUT: Lee Bowyer is the new Birmingham City manager
Birmingham City have confirmed the departure of Aitor Karanka and announced Lee Bowyer will replace him as manager.
Karanka had been under pressure in his role as Blues fell into a relegation battle in the Championship.
The club confirmed he had "stepped down" in a short statement on their website on Tuesday.
Birmingham City had won just three games since the new year leaving them 21st in the table.
Rotherham United are three points behind Blues but have three games in hand, leaving them in real danger of ending their stay in the league.
New boss, familiar face
For their new boss, they turned to a familiar face. Former player Lee Bowyer was hired on a contract that runs until 2023.
LEE BOWYER! ?
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Lee Bowyer as our Head Coach.
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) March 16, 2021
Bowyer had resigned as Charlton Athletic boss the day before being announced as new Birmingham City manager.
Speaking to the club's website after agreeing to become gaffer, Bowyer said, "I’m absolutely delighted and it’s great to be back.
"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."
Bowyer was at Birmingham City from 2009 until 2011 where he made a total of 81 appearances.
He initially joined on loan from West Ham United before making a permanent switch.
In 2011, Bowyer was a part of the Birmingham City squad that lifted the League Cup after beating Arsenal 2-1 in the final.
What Bowyer needs to do to after taking over from Karanka
Things are different at the club now though, and Bowyer is aware of the work he will have to do in succeeding Karanka.
"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," Bowyer said.
"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. When I was here as a player it was an unreal atmosphere. I know how important they are but unfortunately, we can’t change that.
"We have to pull together as a Club to make sure we are in this division next season so the fans can come back and appreciate what we do in this short space of time."
Bowyer's first game in charge will be against Reading on Wednesday night.
Watch the channel on TV