League One promotion favourites Birmingham City are on the hunt for a new boss after Tony Mowbray confirmed he could not return from his period of medical leave.

The EFL veteran arrived at St Andrew's in January, replacing Wayne Rooney, and won four of his eight matches in charge.

However, the former Celtic and Middlesbrough boss stepped away from management duties in February before taking a formal medical leave of absence in March.

Blues were relegated on the final day and will be in the third tier for the first time in over 30 years for the upcoming season, but are amongst the bookmaker's favourites to bounce immediately back with the financial backing of new American owners.

It was hoped that Mowbray would return, but the former centre-back has confirmed he is to stay with his family to continue his recovery.

“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," Mowbray told the club website.

“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.

“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.

“I am extremely grateful to Tom Wagner for the genuine warmth that he has shown towards me during what has been a challenging time, not only for me personally but also for the Club.  I firmly believe that under Tom’s stewardship coupled with the football expertise that Garry offers, Birmingham City have a very bright future ahead.

“I would like to thank everybody associated with the Club who has supported me during these unprecedented times, and I would like to especially thank the Birmingham City supporters for your affection, your kindness, and your support in the relatively short period of time I have been with the Club. Whilst I step down as Manager of Birmingham City, I now become a Blues fan and I wish everybody at the Club nothing but absolute success in the future.

“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."