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Birmingham bring back former manager in desperate bid to avoid relegation after Tony Mowbray was forced to step away

GARY ROWETT has returned to Birmingham as interim manager until the end of the season.

The 50-year-old previously spent two years in charge at St Andrew’s between 2014 and 2016.

Gary Rowett is set to return to Birmingham as interim manager

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Gary Rowett is set to return to Birmingham as interim managerCredit: PA:Empics Sport
The Blues are winless since Tony Mowbray stepped away for medical treatment in February

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The Blues are winless since Tony Mowbray stepped away for medical treatment in FebruaryCredit: Rex

He will take over from Mark Venus, who has been at the helm since Tony Mowbray stepped away to undergo medical treatment in February.

The club confirmed Mowbray would miss the rest of the season.

Rowett will now take charge for the rest of the campaign in a bid to beat the drop.

A club statement read: “Birmingham City Football Club can confirm that Manager, Tony Mowbray, will take a formal medical leave of absence until the start of pre-season 2024/25.

“The Club has appointed Interim Manager, Gary Rowett, with immediate effect for the remaining eight games of the Sky Bet Championship season.

“Rowett has significant managerial experience in the division and previously managed Birmingham from October 2014 to December 2016.

“The decision was taken to act at the beginning of the international break by the Board and Leadership Team, in conjunction with Mowbray who played a role in the identification of Rowett as the right manager to take the team forward till the end of the season.

“The medical leave of absence will allow Mowbray to focus 100 per cent on being with his family and making a full recovery following his recent health challenges.

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“Assistant Manager, Mark Venus, will also take a leave of absence with immediate effect and rejoin the Club at the same time as Mowbray.

“First Team Coaches, Ashley Cole and Peter Shuttleworth, and Goalkeeper Coach, Maik Taylor, will remain at the Club as part of Rowett’s coaching staff.”

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Birmingham have not won any of their six matches since Mowbray stepped away, picking up just a single point under Venus.

Their poor run of results leaves the Blues 21st in the Championship and only above the drop zone on goal difference.

Rowett will have eight matches to avoid relegation to the third tier for the first time since 1994.

The former Millwall boss has been out of management since leaving The Den in October.

He previously spent two years as Birmingham boss, guiding the club to back-to-back 10th place finishes in the Championship.

However, he was sacked in December 2016 with the Blues seventh in the table.

Rowett has also had spells in charge of Derby and Stoke since leaving Birmingham over seven years ago.

On the news, Birmingham co-owner Tom Wagner said: “The Board and Club Leadership fully support Tony’s decision to take time to focus on his health and his family. We continue to wish Tony and his family the very best.

“Based on Tony’s decision to take some additional time away, we agreed it is in the Club’s best interests to appoint Gary Rowett to lead the team forward from the touchline for the final eight games of the season.

“Gary is an experienced leader and has our full support.”

CEO Garry Cook said: “The team is in a challenging position. A strong leader is needed to guide the players through to the end of the season.

“Tony wanted to be part of the solution, so together we agreed to identify an interim manager. Gary Rowett was the No1 choice.

“We are pleased to welcome Gary back to Blues. He has the necessary experience and the requisite passion for the Club and our loyal fans.

“Gary will be provided all the support needed to keep the Club in the Sky Bet Championship.

“We all look forward to welcoming Tony and Mark back to the Club before the start of next season and continue to wish Tony a speedy recovery.”

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