Championship club Bristol City have sacked head coach Dean Holden following a run of six successive defeats in all competitions.
A statement said the Robins’ board had decided that “a change of head coach is necessary” after the club slipped to 13th in the table.
Assistant head coaches Paul Simpson and Keith Downing have been placed in temporary charge.
City are seven points off the play-offs having lost their past five league games, failing to score in four of those outings.
Holden was appointed by the Robins in August on a rolling 12-month contract, having initially been placed in interim charge following the sacking of Lee Johnson in July last year.
Holden, who had been Johnson’s assistant at Ashton Gate for four years, won two and drew two of his five games at the end of last season before he was handed the head coach role.
The Robins started 2020-21 with four successive wins in the Championship, but their promotion challenge has faltered since.
City were sixth when they beat Blackburn on 9 December, but have slid down the table after losing 10 of their subsequent 13 league games, including a 6-0 thumping at Watford on Saturday.
“The club would like to thank Dean for his service to the club over the years and we wish him well for the future,” the club statement added.
‘It’s a watershed moment’ – analysis
Former Bristol City midfielder and BBC Radio Bristol co-commentator Gary Owers:
“Five defeats in the league, not scoring goals, knocked out of the FA Cup, albeit by a team in the Premier League, but when you get beaten 6-0 like on Saturday you know you’ve got problems.
“It’s a watershed moment in the history of Bristol City. It’s a time where they have to move very quickly to get the right person in the right job.
“They have to come up with all the answers and make sure they stay in this division first and foremost and then they are ready to come out of the traps with a rejuvenated and improved squad ready to compete on behalf of all those Bristol City fans who want to see this club in the Premier League.
“People will look at the managers who are out of work – Eddie Howe, Paul Cook, Nigel Pearson – they will be looking at this. Managers do their homework and they will know exactly what’s going on and will be asking do they have enough to get out of this situation? You hope they do.
“Supporters will be worri