League Two: Portsmouth part with manager Richie Barker after poor run of form
Last Updated: 27/03/14 4:18pm
Portsmouth have confirmed that they have parted company with manager Richie Barker by mutual consent.
Barker was only in charge at Fratton Park for 15 weeks and in that time his side won just four times in 20 matches, with eight draws and eight defeats.
Pompey were 17th in the Sky Bet League Two table when they appointed Barker in place of Guy Whittingham in December, but they now sit in 22nd position - only two points and one place above the relegation zone.
Barker, whose side suffered a third successive defeat when they lost 3-0 at Rochdale on Tuesday, met with the club's board on Wednesday night before departing the club on Thursday morning.
It is the second time this season that the 38-year-old former Bury boss has been out of a job as he was dismissed by League One side Crawley Town in November after just over 15 months as manager.
Academy boss Andy Awford has been placed in temporary charge of the club for the remaining seven matches of the season as Pompey, who only dropped out of the Premier League in 2010, battle to avoid a third successive relegation and a tumble into non-league football.
Awford's first game as caretaker boss will be Saturday's League Two fixture against Newport County at Rodney Parade.
A statement on the club's official website read: "Richie Barker has left his position as Portsmouth Football Club manager by mutual consent.
"Following a meeting between Richie and the board, both parties agreed that it was in the best interests of the club.
"Portsmouth Football Club would like to thank Richie for all his work and wish him well for the future.
"Andy Awford has been appointed caretaker manager until the end of the season."
Academy coach Paul Hardyman has joined Awford’s staff as a first-team coach alongside Alan McLoughlin after Anthony Williams left his position as assistant manager and goalkeeping coach.
Ashley Brown, chairman of the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust, explained the thinking behind the decision but backed Barker to have a successful future.
He said: “People have seen the results and our position in the league, which is precarious.
“It was a very difficult decision to make. I think the problem with Richie is he’s the wrong manager, in the wrong place, in the wrong time. He wasn’t fitting in to Portsmouth. I think he’ll go on and be a good manager elsewhere.
“Right now we had to make a change. We couldn’t see us getting out of trouble with Richie and we felt we had to take a change in direction, make a drastic decision and start to galvanise not just a team of players on the pitch, but the supporters, the management, the coaching staff and everyone that’s got anything to do with Portsmouth.”