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Steve Bruce sacked by struggling Aston Villa

Bruce had come under increasing pressure after Villa’s poor start to the season and had a cabbage hurled at him during Tuesday’s draw with Preston.

Aston Villa have confirmed manager Steve Bruce and his coaching staff have been sacked.

Villa are currently 12th in the Sky Bet Championship after winning just three of their first 11 league games this season.

Bruce had come under increasing pressure after Villa’s poor start to the season and had a cabbage hurled at him during Tuesday night’s home draw with Preston.

“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 club said on their official website.

“The process to appoint a new manager is under way.”

A further statement issued on behalf of the board added: “We would like to place on record our gratitude to Steve and his team for their hard work and commitment. We wish them well for the future.

“The process of recruiting a new manager has begun. In the meantime, Kevin MacDonald, Aston Villa Under-23s manager, will be in charge of the team for our trip to Millwall on Saturday.”

Bruce, who has won promotion to the Premier League twice with two different clubs – Birmingham and Hull – replaced Roberto Di Matteo at Villa Park in October 2016.

Former Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan, Crystal Palace and Sunderland boss Bruce guided Villa to the play-off final last season, but they were beaten 1-0 by Fulham and the club’s failure to return to the top flight left them financially vulnerable.

Owner Dr Tony Xia was reported to have cash flow problems and the club failed to pay a £4million tax bill in June before reaching an agreement with HM Revenue and Customs soon afterwards.

Former England defender John Terry left the club this summer, while chief executive Keith Wyness and director of football Steve Round also departed Villa Park before the start of this term.

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Steve Bruce led Villa to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley in May (John Walton/PA)

The club announced billionaire businessmen Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris would be investing heavily in the club in July and Bruce’s squad was boosted with the arrival of forwards Tammy Abraham and Yannick Bolasie on loan from Chelsea and Everton respectively.

But a summer of upheaval appears to have taken its toll and despite winning their first two league matches, Bruce’s side have fallen off the pace at the top of the table.

Villa halted a five-game winless run with victory against Rotherham last month, but Bruce has come under increasing pressure after failing to win any of his last three matches.

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