Lee Clark has left Kilmarnock to join League One side Bury exactly a year to the day since he became manager at Rugby Park, it has been announced.
The Ayrshire club’s board have agreed to early termination of the 44-year-old’s contract, who previously managed Huddersfield, Birmingham and Blackpool in the English lower leagues.
In a statement they said: “When Lee expressed a desire to move back to his homeland, the clubs swiftly agreed terms for the early termination of his contract which was due to run until May, 2019. While disappointed to lose Lee so soon, the board of Kilmarnock understood his desire to be closer to his family and embrace a new challenge.”
Clark succeeded Gary Locke last year and successfully managed to keep the Ayrshire side in the top flight after defeating Falkirk in the play-off final.
He’s since managed to keep Kilmarnock’s heads above water in the Ladbrokes Premiership relegation battle, as they currently sit in sixth place, seven points off the bottom.
Despite the progress, Clark believes it would benefit his career goal of managing in England’s top flight if he were to move back down south.
He said: “I have had a wonderful year as Kilmarnock manager. The club & fans have treated myself and my family fantastically. We are in a good position with a strong and loyal squad and staff. The Directors have given me their full support in rebuilding the squad and the fans will always have a special place in my heart but I still have huge ambition to one day manage at the highest level in England, which is obviously the Premier League, and I feel that the fresh challenge of managing a club in England’s League One could provide me with the platform to build towards this goal.”
Chris Brass had only been named as manager of Bury in December in a deal until the end of the season. Results have not been great for the Greater Manchester side, who sit in the relegation places, though they have picked up four points from their last two games.
It is understood that assistant Lee McCulloch is the preferred candidate to take over from Clark.