LEE Clark has said Huddersfield’s surprise decision to sack him and his coaching staff has left him “shocked, disappointed and perplexed”.
Clark, 39, and assistant Terry McDermott have been dismissed after little more than three years at the club. Academy manager Mark Lillis has been installed as caretaker manager and will take charge of the club against Exeter on Saturday.
Huddersfield are currently fourth in npower League One, well placed to challenge for automatic promotion, and set a new Football League record of 43 games unbeaten earlier in the season.
Former Newcastle United and Sunderland midfielder Clark said via a statement released by the League Managers Association (LMA): “I’m very perplexed as to why I was dismissed as the manager of Huddersfield Town.
“Needless to say I’m extremely disappointed and shocked considering that, with just 16 games left, we are in a such great position to compete for automatic promotion.
“We built on last season’s momentum following the play-off final by creating history in the Football League record books for consecutive unbeaten games. This was an immense achievement by everybody connected with the club.
“I’m massively proud of my record with Huddersfield and I enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the players, coaching staff, supporters and indeed everybody at the club.
“I now wish them all the very best for the future and hope they will ultimately achieve promotion this season.”
The LMA will wait to learn the reasons behind Clark’s sacking from Huddersfield before deciding whether or not to launch a case for unfair dismissal.
The LMA added in a brief statement: “The LMA are in communication with the club with regards the reasons for the dismissal and how the club intend to terminate the contract.”
Clark, who quit as first-team coach at Norwich to succeed Stan Ternent at the Galpharm Stadium in December 2008, led Huddersfield to the npower League One play-off final in May for the second successive season, but his side lost their first game in 28 league matches, 3-0 to Peterborough.
Huddersfield extended their unbeaten league run this season and surpassed Nottingham Forest’s previous 42-game Football League record, set during the 1977-78 season, with victory over Notts County in November.
Town fell four points adrift of the top two when they lost 1-0 to automatic promotion rivals Sheffield United on Tuesday night, but have 16 games left to close the gap.
In his first full season at the club, Clark, who won the manager of the month award three times in 2009-10, led Huddersfield to the play-offs where his side lost to eventual winners Millwall.