OWEN Coyle has been relieved of his duties as manager of Bolton Wanderers with immediate effect.

The Glaswegian, who took over the reigns from Gary Megson in January 2010, presided over the last of his games on Saturday – a 2-1 defeat at Millwall that left the club 18th in the Championship and just three points off the relegation zone.

Wanderers had failed to mount the expected challenge from the front, and found themselves 11 points off the leading pack.

Chairman Phil Gartside said in a statement on the club's official website: "Owen poured his heart and soul into the job, both on and off the pitch, and he led our club with great dignity during some very challenging times."

Gartside added: "It is the right time for a change. We set a target at the beginning of the season and want to get back on track.

"I would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Owen, Sandy Stewart and Steve Davis for all their hard work during their time at Bolton Wanderers."

Coyle left Burnley in January 2010 to take up the hotseat at the Reebok Stadium on a two-and-a-half-year deal after Gary Megson was relieved of his duties.

He led the club to safety from 18th position, but failed to keep his side in the top flight last campaign.

Coyle, who played for Bolton between 1993-95, said: "I have always been driven to act in the best interests of the club and care passionately about it.

"I had fantastic times here as a player and it has been a privilege to have held the post of manager.

"I want to thank the fans for their backing since I returned, the chairman Phil Gartside and the owner Eddie Davies for their support and friendship and the club's staff and players for all their effort and commitment.

"I wish everyone connected with Bolton Wanderers all the very best."

Academy manager Jimmy Phillips and head of academy coaching and development Sammy Lee will take temporary charge of the first-team squad, with their first assignment on Saturday at home against Bristol City.

Cllr Chris Peacock, cabinet member for sport youth and culture at Bolton Council, said: “ It is a sad day. I don’t think any Bolton fan wanted Owen to fail. Anyone who has ever met him and is passionate about Bolton Wanderers wanted him to succeed.

“I will remember him as a fantastic player for Bolton when I was growing up. I will remember him  for getting us to an FA Cup semi final and I will remember him for the fantastic way he dealt with Fabrice Muamba – he really was a credit to the club.

“Everyone wanted it to work out and for that corner to be turned.

“I wish him all the best for the future because he is a wonderful bloke and he does care for the club a lot. He is Bolton Wanderers through and through.

“It is a sad day but it was inevitable. There isn’t room for sentiment in football.

More to follow...