Derby County have sacked head coach Steve McClaren, the Championship club have announced.

McClaren's Rams side topped the Sky Bet Championship two months ago but won just two of their final 13 matches as they had to settle for eighth-place, missing out on a top-six finish by a point.

The Rams have number of Irish players currently on their books, including Republic of Ireland internationals Richard Keogh, Jeff Hendrick, Cyrus Chrisitie and Conor Sammon.

Early favourite to succeed the 54-year-old is Paul Clement, Carlo Ancelotti's number two at Real Madrid.

The Italian suffered a similar fate to McClaren today, with Real president Florentino Perez announcing Ancelotti's sacking from the Bernabeu.

Clement also assisted Ancelotti during his tenure as Chelsea manager, and the 43-year-old Londoner also previously worked with the Ireland Under-21 set up from 2007-10 when Don Givens was in charge.

A statement issued by the club this evening said: “Derby County have terminated the contract of Head Coach Steve McClaren with immediate effect.

“The decision follows a thorough review of the 2014/15 season by the club’s Board of Directors.

“The Board believes that the appointment of a new Head Coach is required to continue the club’s on-field progress and the search is now underway to appoint a successor. 

“The Board remains firmly committed and driven to achieving promotion to the Premier League. 

“The club would also like to take this opportunity to wish Steve McClaren well for the future and thank him for his work throughout his tenure, which included a Play-Off Final appearance in 2014. 

“The club will be making no further comment at this time.”

Only last week McClaren reaffirmed his "100%" commitment to Derby amid continuing speculation linking him with Newcastle, but now the Rams board have stepped in and severed their ties with the former England manager.

McClaren has formerly managed Middlesbrough, England, FC Twente, Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest.