GARY Rowett was "surprised" by Neil Warnock's decision to step down as Cardiff boss – but doesn't reckon the veteran manager is finished just yet.
Warnock, 70, stepped down on Monday after the previous day's 1-0 home defeat against Bristol City.
Former Millwall boss Neil Harris is the favourite for the Bluebirds job.
Millwall face Cardiff on Boxing Day after the 2-2 draw between the sides at The Den last month.
Warnock has eight promotions on his CV. He took Cardiff up in 2017-18 but they were relegated from the Premier League last season.
Rowett experienced a similar task when he took over Stoke after they were relegated from the top flight in 2018, but he was sacked the in January 2019.
"I'm slightly surprised. Neil did a fantastic job at Cardiff," Rowett said. "It often happens when you've done so well, and then you're not near the top of the league the following season – I experienced it myself with a team coming down.
"It was always going to be his last season, but it's surprising. Neil has stood down himself and maybe felt he didn't want his last season to be like that, I don't know.
"It's a shame. He's a really good guy and a top manager. It wouldn't really surprise me to see him pop up somewhere until the end of the season and be successful."
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail have claimed Cardiff have made contact with Harris for the job. Harris said earlier this month in a radio interview he was ready to return to football. He played three games and scored once for Cardiff on loan from Millwall in 2004.
Image: Millwall FC