Tanya Oxtoby is expecting a baby in March

Credit: PAUL GROVER

Bristol City are set to appoint former West Ham United and Liverpool manager Matt Beard to provide maternity cover for manager Tanya Oxtoby, Telegraph Sport understands.

Oxtoby, 38, is expecting a baby boy in March but will return to the club after her maternity leave. Beard, who left West Ham by mutual consent in November, will take charge of Sunday’s Women’s Super League game against Everton.

Bristol City are bottom of the WSL, winless from their first 10 league games of the season. With just one relegation spot, they are four points from safety, but their closest rivals Aston Villa have two games in hand. Beard has been tasked with attempting to steer the West Country club away from the drop zone, with 12 games remaining.

He will also lead the team into a League Cup semi-final, after their best performance of the season so far on Wednesday saw them beat Villa 2-1 in the quarter-finals. The draw for the semi-finals has not yet been conducted.

Beard, 43, led his former club Liverpool to back-to-back WSL titles in 2013 and 2014, before a spell in charge of Boston Breakers in the American NWSL.

He took charge of West Ham in 2018 and guided them to the Women’s FA Cup final in 2019 at the end of their first season as a professional club.