Reading have sacked manager and former Huddersfield Town loan player Brian McDermott.

The development comes on the day Darrell Clarke signed a new three-year contract at Bristol Rovers, ending speculation of a move to Leeds United.

Meanwhile Aston Villa, new to Town’s Championship fixture list next season, are closing in on former Chelsea chief Roberto Di Matteo.

Former Leeds boss McDermott’s second spell in charge of Reading ended after six months.

He was unable to repeat the success of his initial stint at the helm when he led the club to promotion to the Premier League.

Reading finished 17th in the Championship and ended the campaign with a seven-game winless run which included six defeats.

A statement on the club website said: “After careful consideration, the board have taken the difficult decision to relieve manager Brian McDermott of his duties.

“We would like to sincerely thank Brian for all his hard work since his return to the club in December 2015 and wish him well in his future career.

“The board will now undertake a rigorous recruitment process to identify the right man to lead this club forward.”

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has already been linked with the Reading job.

The Dutchman has most recently been working as assistant coach at Ajax.

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Clarke’s new contract at Bristol makes him the highest-paid manager in Rovers’ history.

Leeds made an approach for him earlier this week.

The Pirates have won back-to-back promotions from the National League to League I.

Villa have spoken to Di Matteo, who has also bossed MK Dons, West Bromwich Albion and Schalke.

It is understood they hope to name him as Remi Garde’s successor in the coming days.

The 45-year-old has always been the number one choice for prospective new owner Dr Tony Xia.

David Moyes and Nigel Pearson, now being strongly linked with Derby County, were also interviewed.

But it is thought Di Matteo’s achievements at Chelsea - winning the Champions League in 2012 - were most appealing to Xia as he looks to build Villa’s profile in the Far East.

Xia’s takeover of the club is edging closer to completion as it awaits both Premier League and Football League approval.

The Chinese businessman, 39, recently bought Villa from American Randy Lerner, who had been looking to sell since 2014.

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Xia needs to pass the customary test in order for his takeover of the club to be completed.

Investigations into Xia’s conglomerate, Recon Group, are being carried out jointly by the Premier League and Football League as Villa, relegated from the top flight for the first time in 29 years, do not officially become a Championship club until June.