Leeds sack McDermott

The former Reading boss confirms that he has been ousted from his job at Elland Road just hours before the close of the transfer window, with captain Ross McCormack heartbroken
Brian McDermott has revealed that he has been sacked as Leeds United manager just hours before the close of the January transfer window.

Leeds, who sit 12th in the Championship but are winless in seven league games, removed the 52-year-old on Friday as the public battle for the club's ownership continues.

Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino appears set to confirm a buyout of the club but a rival bid, chaired by former Manchester United commercial executive Mike Farnan, is also in contention. Another group, called Sport Capital, saw their attempt to buy the club collapse earlier this week.

Cellino reportedly wants Gianluca Festa to take on the Elland Road job and allegedly tried to place the former Middlesbrough defender in the dugout for Leeds' 1-1 Championship draw against Ipswich Town on Tuesday.

And, although there had not been official confirmation of the news, McDermott told BBC Radio Leeds on Friday that he had been sacked, declaring: "From the bottom of my heart, thanks to each and every Leeds United fan for your support."

McDermott took charge at Leeds in April last year, just over a month after being sacked at Reading, and enjoyed a great start to life at Elland Road, guiding his side to wins in seven of their first 11 matches, but drew two and lost four of his last six games in charge.

The situation could yet get worse for the Whites, with club captain and top scorer Ross McCormack, who is attracting interest from a host of clubs, expressing his discontent at McDermott's dismissal.

"I'm absolutely gutted. I had a really close relationship with the manager," the forward told Sky Sports News. "He's made me the club captain this season.

"I'm very happy and content at the club but I think a big part of that was Brian McDermott. At the moment it's still very raw. I'm absolutely gutted.

"I can't see anything happening [in the remaining hours of the transfer window]. The club have said they're not going to sell me. Whether that changes in the next couple of hours we'll see. I'm lost for words. I can't believe it."