Blackburn Rovers are searching for a fourth permanent manager of the season after the sacking of Michael Appleton following 67 days in charge sees the former Premier League champions' appetite for self-destruction continue.

Reserve Team manager Gary Bowyer is expected to resume control until the end of the season after he took over on a caretaker basis before the New Year, following the removal of Henning Berg after 57 days at the helm.

Appleton took over at Rovers with the club 13<sup>th in The Championship table, but have since slipped to within four points of the relegation zone after two league wins in 11 games, while the club exited the FA Cup at the quarter final stage last week following defeat to Millwall.

After leaving both Portsmouth and Blackpool earlier in the campaign, Appleton is himself looking for a fourth club of the season.

Ewood Park.

"Blackburn Rovers FC can confirm that Michael Appleton has been relieved of his duties as manager along with assistant manager Ashley Westwood, first team coach Darren Moore and head of senior recruitment Luke Dowling," a Rovers statement said.

Record goalscorer Simon Garner: "I can't believe it. There were no murmurings, heard nothing that this was going to happen. After the last couple of results Millwall and then Burnley, perhaps they were the final nail in the coffin.

"I don't know if anyone would want the job. Three managers in a season - it looks like you lose a few games and you're sacked. Venky's don't seem to know how to handle a manager and the fans."

Following the much publicised supporter criticism of Steve Kean, who had guided Blackburn into The Championship play-offs after relegation from the Premier League, Berg was installed in October after a six-week search for a new manager.

But the ex-Manchester United defender became the club's shortest serving manager before the New Year, having claimed one win from his opening 10 games in charge.

Bowyer, now the bookmakers favourite to permanently replace Appleton, was placed in caretaker charge, winning three of his four matches.

After just 66 days at Blackpool, Appleton accepted the role at Blackburn but a torrid spell as seen the club slip towards the relegation zone with re-promotion back to the top flight appearing a distant dream.

The premature sacking will again throw into question the intention of the club's Indian owners Venky's and the role of Global Advisor Shebby Singh, who is intrusted with new managerial appointments and has been the main source of criticism from the Ewood Park faithful.