Aitor Karanka quits Nottingham Forest after asking to leave

Guardian sport on 11 January 2019

Aitor Karanka’s protracted exit from Nottingham Forest was confirmed on Friday morning. The 45-year-old Spaniard’s future at the City Ground had been uncertain ever since Forest threw away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Norwich on Boxing Day.

Forest have now begun the search for their 11th full-time manager since 2011, with Martin O’Neill, Slavisa Jokanovic and Carlos Carvalhal the bookmakers’ favourites.

Karanka asked to be released from his contract, a request the Championship club agreed to. The first-team coach Simon Ireland will take temporary charge at Reading on Saturday.

A club statement read: “Aitor Karanka has asked to be released from his contract as the manager of Nottingham Forest. The club have agreed to this request and the terms of departure have been agreed. Both parties wish each other every success for the future.”

Karanka said it had been “an absolute privilege to manage this historic club”. He was appointed in January 2018 and leaves with Forest seventh in the table. His final game was the 2-0 FA Cup defeat by Chelsea, although Forest beat the leaders Leeds a few days earlier to move to within four points of the top six.

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Karanka guided Middlesbrough to promotion to the Premier League in 2016 but was sacked the following year.

O’Neill is out of work after the 66-year-old left his role as the Republic of Ireland manager in November following a run of one victory in 11 matches. He spent 10 years as a player at Forest, winning among other trophies the First Division and European Cup.

Jokanovic was sacked by Fulham in November, having won promotion to the Premier League. He also took Watford into the top flight. Carvalhal’s most recent job was with Swansea.

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