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McLeish quits Forest after 40 days

ESPN staff
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Alex McLeish, right, lasted only 40 days at Nottingham Forest © PA Photos
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Nottingham Forest have confirmed that manager Alex McLeish has left the club after little over a month in charge.

McLeish arrived at the City Ground following the surprise sacking of Sean O'Driscoll after the Boxing Day victory over Leeds United, which had left the club one point behind the play-off places.

Forest chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi, whose family took charge of the club in the summer, had then said he was looking to appoint "an ambitious manager with Premier League experience" in a bid to secure promotion.

However, McLeish's seven-match reign saw only one Championship victory - a 2-1 win over Peterborough - as well as an FA Cup exit to League One strugglers Oldham. In addition, there was substantial off-field turmoil, with club ambassador Frank Clark, chief executive Mark Arthur and head of recruitment Keith Burt all apparently dismissed without the manager's knowledge.

McLeish was reported to be considering his resignation on the final day of the transfer window when the club pulled out of a deal for Peterborough midfielder George Boyd after a lengthy medical on the grounds of a problem with his eyesight. Peterborough director of football Barry Fry said in the aftermath: "Alex still wanted to do the deal but the owners said no. Alex has been having rows with them for a couple of days about transfer targets. I wouldn't be surprised if he walked over this."

Al Hasawi released a statement insisting he had a "very good working relationship" with the manager and vowed to reinforce the squad when the emergency loan window reopened. However, while McLeish remained in charge for Saturday's trip to former club Birmingham, which Forest lost 2-1, he has now left the City Ground with the club six points behind the play-off places.

Al-Hasawi told the club's official website: "I'm bitterly disappointed - as is Alex - that it has not worked out as we had hoped when he became our manager and I would like to put on record my thanks for his services to the club and wish him every success in the future."

McLeish added: "I am extremely saddened to be leaving after such a short period but even so it has been a privilege to be manager of such a fantastic football club and I want to thank the players, staff and fans for their support and wish Nottingham Forest the best of fortunes ahead.

"Both parties entered into the relationship in good faith. However, there was a difference in the understanding of the development strategy of the football club and it was felt by both parties that we should part company."

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