FORMER Bolton defender Dean Holden has been appointed head coach of Bristol City.

The 40-year-old makes the step up after serving as number two to former Latics boss Lee Johnson, who was sacked last month after four years in charge.

Holden ended the Championship season in caretaker charge of the Robins but was given the job permanently this week, with chief executive Mark Ashton believing that after a play-off push tailed off to a 12th placed finish, the ex-Oldham, Chesterfield and Walsall stopper is the right man to lead the club.

Holden will be assisted by England U19s and U20s managers Paul Simpson and Keith Downing, who have both left FA roles with immediate effect to take up the roles at Ashton Gate.

“I am honoured to take on the role of head coach - it’s a very proud moment for me and my family," he said.

"I’m excited about this opportunity and I’m delighted that the board have selected me.

“We will go into every game wanting to win with attacking and exciting football. That’s what fans want. I know what it’s like to be a supporter.

"I love that our supporters care and are so passionate. I know what that’s like - it’s important to them and rightly so. I spent all my money as a kid following my team around the country home and away.

“What you see is what you get with me. I’ll be honest with the players, staff and the fans and I’ll graft as hard as I can to bring success to this football club.”

Candidates for the post included former Brighton boss Chris Hughton, but chief executive Ashton said Holden's "clean vision" impressed them.

“We are delighted to announce Dean as Bristol City’s head coach," said Ashton.

“We undertook a rigorous recruitment process and, while that rightly took time because of how important it was, we believe we have made the correct decisions about the head coach and the coaching structure.

“Dean has a clear vision of how he wants to take us forward and we believe that, along with the addition of Keith and Paul, we will have a coaching team that can deliver that vision. Everyone involved with the club should be excited about this next chapter for Bristol City.”

Born in Swinton, Holden came through the Bolton ranks and was given his professional debut by Sam Allardyce in November 1999, going on to make 21 senior appearances before joining Oldham Athletic in the summer of 2002 after a successful loan spell the previous season.

After retiring as a player Holden returned to Boundary Park to team up with Johnson as first team coach in November 2014.

He took caretaker charge before the end of that season when Johnson left to join Bristol City in March 2015. He remained on the backroom team and became assistant manager to David Dunn before reuniting with Johnson at Bristol City.