Sheffield Wednesday's relegation rivals confirm management decision amid fight for survival

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Sheffield Wednesday's relegation rivals, Birmingham City, have confirmed a key decision during their battle for survival.

It was reported on Tuesday morning that the Blues were set to bring former player and manager, Gary Rowett, back to the club on an interim basis in an attempt to turn around their fortunes, and now it has been confirmed that he is returning to St. Andrews, with actual manager, Tony Mowbray, taking a leave of absence for the rest of the 2023/24 campaign.

Mowbray was originally set to be missing for six to eight weeks as he recovered from unspecified treatment following a medical examination, but he - and now his assistant, Mark Venus - will only be back when preparations begin for next season.

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A statement from the club read, "Birmingham City Football Club can confirm that Manager, Tony Mowbray, will take a formal medical leave of absence until the start of pre-season 2024/25.

"The Club has appointed Interim Manager, Gary Rowett, with immediate effect for the remaining eight games of the Sky Bet Championship season. Rowett has significant managerial experience in the division and previously managed Birmingham from October 2014 to December 2016.

"The decision was taken to act at the beginning of the international break by the Board and Leadership Team, in conjunction with Mowbray who played a role in the identification of Rowett as the right manager to take the team forward till the end of the season.

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"The medical leave of absence will allow Mowbray to focus 100% on being with his family and making a full recovery following his recent health challenges. Assistant Manager, Mark Venus, will also take a leave of absence with immediate effect and rejoin the Club at the same time as Mowbray. First Team Coaches, Ashley Cole and Peter Shuttleworth, and Goalkeeper Coach, Maik Taylor, will remain at the Club as part of Rowett’s coaching staff."

Wednesday are currently one point below 21st-placed Birmingham, however have a very inferior goal difference to Rowett's side, and the new Brum boss will be eager to make sure that neither of those are chipped away at in the coming weeks.

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