London (AFP) – Gary Rowett has been sacked by Stoke City after just eight months as their manager with the club struggling to challenge for an immediate return to the Premier League.

The 44-year-old Englishman, who left Championship rivals Derby County to take over Stoke after they were relegated from the Premier League, has overseen just eight wins in 26 league matches leaving them 14th in the table.

Stoke are eight points off the play-off places and 14 adrift of Norwich, who occupy the second automatic promotion spot.

His final match in charge was the 1-1 draw with third tier Shrewsbury Town in the third round of the FA Cup last Saturday.

One of his predecessors, Mark Hughes, was sacked just over a year ago with them struggling in the Premier League and having been knocked out of the FA Cup by fourth tier Coventry.

“Stoke City have terminated the contract of manager Gary Rowett,” read a club statement.

“Members of his immediate coaching staff have also left.

“The club would like to thank Gary and his staff for their efforts over the past eight months.”