- Associated Press - Sunday, January 19, 2014

SYDNEY (AP) - Gary van Egmond has been fired as coach of Australian A-League club Newcastle after his team’s 3-1 loss to last-place Melbourne Heart.

The club announced on Twitter Monday that it had “agreed a mutual termination of his contract as head coach effective immediately.”

Newcastle has won only one of its last six games and has taken only one point from its last four matches, though it remains only a point outside the top-six playoffs zone.

Van Egmond has twice coached Newcastle, leading it to the league victory in 2008 before leaving in 2009, then returning to take charge in 2011.

Chief executive Robbie Middleby told a news conference later Monday former Australia striker and current Newcastle youth league coach Clayton Zane will take over as interim head coach for the rest of the season.

“In Clayton, we have an ex-Socceroo who has played at a high level in Europe and is a talented young coach,” Middleby said. “We have confidence that Clayton will bring a new perspective to take the team forward this year and battle for finals qualification.

“After not qualifying for the A-League finals series for the last three years, this is a vitally important season for the club and both parties, the club and Gary, agree the team requires a new voice and direction to take us forward.”

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