Colchester United have put former Watford coach Hayden Mullins in charge of the first team after sacking head coach Wayne Brown.

With the U’s four points above the drop zone in League Two with eight matches to go, the board has acted, removing Brown after just nine games.

Mullins, who was assistant to Brown, will step up until the end of the season, having been interim coach twice at Watford in recent times.

Most recently, Mullins took over at Vicarage Road on a temporary basis following Nigel Pearson's sacking towards the end of last season, with just two games remaining, but was unable to help the Hornets avoid relegation.

Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling said on the club’s official website: “With just eight games of the season remaining and Colchester United still embroiled in a battle to steer clear of the relegation zone, I have decided to make a very tough decision to change the first team head coach for the second time this season.

“I have asked Hayden Mullins to take over the reins until the end of the season and I am pleased to say that he has accepted the challenge.

“I will provide a further update on who will be assisting him once that has been determined but I will be looking for someone with good managerial experience to not only assist Hayden, but to also mentor him over those eight games. I feel this combination will give us the best chance of achieving all of our aims.

“I would like to make it very clear though that this is Hayden’s gig. He will be the first team head coach and it will be him that makes the final decisions regarding the team selection and tactics.”