Tony Mowbray has stepped down as Birmingham City manager due to health reasons.

The former Blackburn Rovers boss was forced to step away from the dugout after undergoing unexpected surgery in February.

Mowbray was initially expected to be away for six to eight weeks. Gary Rowett then stepped in for the remainder of the season but Birmingham were relegated to League One.

It had been Mowbray's intention to return to Birmingham but, with his recovery taking precedence, he has decided to step back. 

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The 60-year-old cited the desire to spend more time with his family as he recovers and the need for Birmingham to plan ahead for a promotion push as the reason for his change of heart.

“As people will be aware, I am currently undertaking a period of extended convalescence following significant and unexpected surgery earlier in the year which required that I take a period of medical absence," Mowbray said.

“Throughout this period, I have watched every Birmingham City game along with every training session, whilst I have remained in positive and constructive dialogue with Tom Wagner, Garry Cook and Craig Gardner.

“Over the very recent days, it has become apparent to me that I will not be fully fit to resume my duties as Manager of Birmingham City in the timescale that would allow the Club to best prepare for the forthcoming season and therefore, I have regrettably decided to step away from my role at this time.

“Once I have fully recovered, it is important to me that I then spend some quality time with my wife and my boys before I fully commit to work.

“I am extremely grateful to Tom Wagner for the genuine warmth that he has shown towards me during what has been a challenging time, not only for me personally but also for the Club.  I firmly believe that under Tom’s stewardship coupled with the football expertise that Garry offers, Birmingham City have a very bright future ahead.

“I would like to thank everybody associated with the Club who has supported me during these unprecedented times, and I would like to especially thank the Birmingham City supporters for your affection, your kindness, and your support in the relatively short period of time I have been with the Club. Whilst I step down as Manager of Birmingham City, I now become a Blues fan and I wish everybody at the Club nothing but absolute success in the future.

“Once I have fully recovered and have spent some quality time with my family, I intend to make a return to football management at the appropriate moment. I hope that the privacy of my family and I will be respected at this time. Thank you for your ongoing support, Tony.”

Mowbray was one of four managers Birmingham had last season which ultimately culminated in their relegation. John Eustace was sacked with the club in sixth and replaced by Wayne Rooney.

Mowbray then took over before being forced to stand down due to illness. Rowett couldn't keep them up and they're now preparing for another manager search to find someone to lead them back into the Championship.