Tony Stewart to act fast to preserve Rotherham United's Championship status after Neil Redfearn is axed

ROTHERHAM UNITED plan to move quickly in their hunt for a new manager following Neil Redfearn's surprise departure.

Millers have sacked manager Neil Redfearn

The 50-year-old’s tenure in charge at the New York Stadium came to an end yesterday following a board meeting. He had been in charge for just 123 days and 21 games.

Five defeats in the last seven of those matches, a run that included damaging losses to fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic, has cost Redfearn dear after the Millers dropped into the relegation zone.

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Chairman Tony Stewart said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have parted company with Neil. As we all know, football is a results-driven business and with 16 games to go our aim has to be to retain our Championship status.

Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray in running for Rotherham job

“Everyone at the club wishes Neil well with his future career and thank him for his efforts and endeavour.

“Our focus now is 100 per cent behind appointing a first team manager as soon as possible.”

Redfearn’s departure from Rotherham continues a destabilising trend in south Yorkshire that has seen no less than seven managerial changes inside the past 12 months.

His exit is perhaps the most surprising of the lot, coming as it has just a week or so after the closure of a transfer window that had seen the former midfielder bring in seven new faces.

Former Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio has applied for the Rotherham job.

All seven have featured in the Millers’ matchday squad, albeit with Alex Cairns and Chris Dawson having so far been confined to the bench.

Following yesterday’s dramatic turn of events, the onus is now on the board to find a suitable successor.

It seems unlikely there will be a repeat of the fortnight it took to name Redfearn, who signed a two-and-a-half year deal, as the replacement for Steve Evans.

United host Birmingham City on Saturday and then face back-to-back away games at Burnley and Reading before rounding off February at home to Brentford.

Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray in running for Rotherham job

Considering the Millers’ perilous league position – Saturday was the first time the club had been in the bottom three since Christmas – a swift appointment is expected amid the bookmakers pricing Stuart Gray and Chris Wilder as early favourites for the vacancy.

Former Sunderland manager Paulo di Canio is believed to have applied for a second time to manage the Millers.

As for Redfearn, a second dismissal inside seven months is a big blow following the impressive work he did at Leeds under difficult circumstances.

In the wake of Saturday’s stoppage-time defeat at Bolton, he had spoken of his confidence that Rotherham would get themselves out of trouble.

Former Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio has applied for the Rotherham job.

“From day one we were in a mess,” he said. “We were in a bad situation. But we have got gradually better performances, we have picked some good results up. We are still in there. We have just got to concentrate on ourselves. The season doesn’t end now, it ends in May. We have got enough to get out of it.”

Redfearn has already been installed as the favourite to take charge at former club Barnsley, who lost head coach Lee Johnson to Bristol City. However, it is understood the Reds plan to give Tommy Wright and Paul Heckinbottom further time in caretaker charge.

Barnsley latest: Page 18