Former Hibs and Celtic boss steps down as Rangers transfer target told to move on

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The latest news from the world of football as a former Hibs manager reveals a major decision and Rangers are linked with a new winger.

Former Celtic and Hibs manager Tony Mowbray has revealed the reasons behind his decision to step down as manager of English League One club Birmingham City.

The 60-year-old was named as successor to Wayne Rooney at St Andrews earlier this season but health reasons and an ‘unexpected surgery’ forced him to step down after he had made a promising start to life in the Championship with the Blues. Former manager Gary Rowett returned to take temporary charge in March but was unable to keep the club in English football’s second tier as their relegation was officially confirmed on the final day of the season.

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Mowbray has now revealed he will step down from the role on a permanent basis after confirming he would ‘not be fully fit’ to take charge of their attempt to bounce back from relegation at the first attempt.

In a club statement, Mowbray said: “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. 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.”

Despite his disappointment at being forced to step down, Mowbray did confirm he would look to return to life in the dugout when he is his ready.

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He added: “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. 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.”

Rangers target told to follow example of former Everton star

Rangers transfer target Relebohile Mofokeng has been told he must leave South African club Orlando Pirates if he is to realise his full potential.

The 19-year-old winger is reportedly one of several targets identified by the Ibrox hierarchy as Philippe Clement aims to put his own stamp on the squad he inherited from Michael Beale. Mofokeng has impressed after scoring five goals and providing seven assists during a breakthrough year with the Pirates and his form also earned him a trial with English Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Although no formal offer was forthcoming from the Molineux club, there are several clubs across Europe said to be monitoring Mofokeng’s progress - and former Pirates midfielder Solomon Mathe believes the youngster can follow in Steven Pinnear’s footsteps by succeeding in European football should he be handed an opportunity.

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“I think he has done well this season, and if an opportunity from overseas arises, he needs to go,” Mathe told Soccer Laduma. “Remember when Steven Pienaar left for Ajax Amsterdam, he was still young and became a household name. Aaron Mokoena did the same. So, he must go now and grow as a player. He will succeed because he is a clever player.”

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