Bruce sacked as Villa manager

Aston Villa have sacked Steve Bruce as their manager following the 3-3 draw with Preston North End that left them 12th in the Championship.

Steve Bruce led Villa to the 2017-18 Championship play-off final.   -  Getty Images

Steve Bruce has been sacked as Aston Villa manager less than five months after leading it to the Championship play-off final.

Despite having to deal with a reduced budget last term, Villa finished fourth in the second tier before falling at the final hurdle, losing 1-0 to Fulham at Wembley and being consigned to another year out of the Premier League.

Reports in pre-season suggested Bruce's job was in danger when the club was taken over by new owners, but he was given the chance to stay on and get Villa back into the top flight.

But Tuesday's 3-3 draw at home to Preston North End proved the final straw, leaving Villa with one win in 10 across all competitions, while the match was marred by an incident which saw Bruce targeted with a cabbage thrown from the crowd.

"Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that manager Steve Bruce and his assistants Colin Calderwood, Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence and Gary Walsh are leaving their posts with immediate effect after having their contracts terminated. The process to appoint a new manager is under way," read a Villa statement.

"Kevin MacDonald, Aston Villa U23s manager, will be in charge of the team for our trip to Millwall on Saturday."