LIAM Manning has left Oxford United for Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City.

The Ashton Gate outfit’s pursuit of Manning is believed to have intensified in the last 48 hours, with the Robins keen to announce a replacement for Nigel Pearson before their trip to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Assistant head coach Chris Hogg is also leaving the U’s. Craig Short will take on the role of interim head coach, supported by former player and current academy coach Chris Hackett.

United chairman Grant Ferguson told the club website: “We reluctantly gave Bristol City permission to speak with Liam after he indicated he wanted to discuss their vacant managerial position with them.

“The club did everything it could to keep him here, but we move on and the project continues. Our focus now is to quickly appoint Liam’s successor and support Craig as interim head coach.”

U’s chief executive officer Tim Williams added: “I am hugely disappointed to be losing Liam and Chris at this stage of the season, particularly given the support they have had.

“However, we have already begun the process of securing the best possible candidate to replace Liam. This is a fantastic club with great training facilities and an exciting future – I have no doubt we will have huge interest in the role.”

Manning took over as United boss in March, guiding the club to safety in League One last season.

This campaign has seen the U’s flourish under Manning, as they sit second in the third tier and three points behind leaders Portsmouth.