IAN Baird's five-year reign as Eastleigh manager is over.

Following a run of three straight defeats in the Blue Square Bet South, the ex-Saints and Leeds United striker departed the club last night.

A statement issued by Eastleigh this morning said: "Following a meeting at the Silverlake last night between manager Ian Baird and (owner/acting chairman) Stewart Donald it has been agreed that Ian will no longer be employed by Eastleigh as first team manager and has left the club with immediate effect.

"The Board thinks it very important to thank Ian for all his tireless efforts over the years.

"Ian has been a marvellous ambassador for the football club and has managed the team through some difficult circumstances during his tenure and has always acted in an extremely professional manner for the good of the club.

"We are certain Ian will be back in football very soon and wish him well for the future.

"The club is currently interviewing potential candidates for the position.

"In the interim (asistant manager) Shaun Wilkinson will take charge of the first team squad."