Newcastle Jets have sacked head coach Gary van Egmond on Monday as the club looks to save its stalling A-League campaign.
The club's youth coach and former Socceroo Clayton Zane has been appointed as caretaker coach for the rest of the season, the Jets have confirmed.
The Hunter club are yet to win a match in 2014 and Friday night's 3-1 loss away to bottom side Melbourne Heart was the final straw for Van Egmond.
With van Egmond off contract at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, there had been growing doubts about his future since the turn of the year.
Sitting third at Christmas, they are now clinging to sixth place on goal difference, with their play-off hopes in danger of slipping away.
The Heart defeat was the Jets' third loss in the past four games, all to teams below them on the ladder.
"After not qualifying for the A-League finals series for the last three years, this is a vitally important season for the club and we feel the team requires a new voice and direction to take us forward," Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby said.
Zane, a 14-time Socceroo, initially served as head coach of the Jets' W-League team and has been in charge of the Jets' NYL side for the past two seasons.
"In Clayton, we have an ex-Socceroo who has played at a high level in Europe and is a talented young coach," Middleby said.
"Our youth team is currently enjoying its best season to date in the NYL, sitting in second in the competition.
"We have confidence that Clayton will bring a new perspective to take the team forward this year and battle for Finals qualification."
The Jets will commence the process to identify and appoint a new long-term head coach in the coming weeks.
Assistant coach Craig Deans will take on the role of NYL coach for the remainder of the season.
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