London (AFP) – Derby manager Nigel Pearson left the struggling Championship club by “mutual consent” on Saturday, less than two weeks after he was suspended following reports of a row with the owner.

Former Charlton and Huddersfield boss Chris Powell, who played for Derby in the 1990s, is the early favourite to replace Pearson after stepping in as caretaker following the suspension.

“Derby County Football Club can today confirm that they have mutually agreed to part company with Nigel Pearson with immediate effect,” a statement read.

“As a result of the mutual termination of Nigel Pearson’s employment agreement with Derby County any disciplinary process has now ceased.

“The board of Derby County will now turn their attention to appointing a new manager as soon as possible and expect to announce a successor in a timely fashion.”

Former Leicester manager Pearson, 53, joined Derby on a three-year contract during the close season and was expected to mount a strong challenge for promotion to the Premier League.

However, Derby made a disappointing start to the campaign and currently sit in 20th place in the table with just two wins from their 11 games.

Pearson strongly criticised his players following a recent 2-1 defeat at Blackburn, saying they were “paralysed by fear”.

He had been suspended since September 27 following a meeting with Rams owner Mel Morris that reportedly ended in a bitter argument.

In a statement released via the League Managers’ Association, Pearson said: “Although disappointed that my tenure at Derby County has come to an abrupt and premature end, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my colleagues who supported me during my short time at the club.

“I was suspended by the club last week. The speculation in some areas of the media has not made the separation a smooth one and my suspension period has been difficult for both myself and family.

“I can confirm that I have not been made the subject of any disciplinary action.

“I would like to wish the club and its supporters success moving forward.”