Matt Beard is to stand in as Bristol City Women’s boss until the end of the 2020/21 season while manager Tanya Oxtoby is on maternity leave.
Oxtoby has been at the helm for two-and-a-half years after taking charge in the summer of 2018 and will step away from her role temporarily to focus on the birth of her baby boy, who is due in March.
Beard – until recently head coach at West Ham – takes over from Oxtoby with immediate effect and will be in charge for the trip to face Everton in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League on Sunday.
Oxtoby told bcfc.co.uk: “Given the circumstances and where we are with the pandemic, I think it makes sense for the transition to begin and I’m fully supportive.
“I know Matt well. At the forefront of my mind when I knew this process was going to start was the playing group and making sure the transition was as seamless as possible.
“The Board have decided Matt is the right person to come in and I’ll support him 100% however he needs, the players as well because I want them to reach their potential. I want us to stay in the Barclays FAWSL and I’ll support, however I can, to make that happen.”
Beard said: “I’m really excited and looking forward to the challenge.
“I want to come in and make an impact straight away with the players, the staff and hopefully that impact can turn into results.
“I’ve got a great relationship with Tanya. She’s done a good job over the years here and it’s exciting for her to have her first baby.
“It gives me an opportunity for me to come in to hopefully turn things around in the league. I’m sure we’ll keep in contact over the course of the season.”