Hart out at Pompey
Portsmouth have sacked manager Paul Hart following their poor start to the English Premier League season.
The former Nottingham Forest and Barnsley boss has left Fratton Park with Portsmouth at the foot of the table, after taking just seven points from 13 matches. They were beaten 1-0 at Stoke on Sunday and are four points adrift of safety, ahead of this weekend's clash with Manchester United.
Portsmouth have a ready-made replacement for Hart at the club after bringing in former Chelsea manager Avram Grant as director of football last month. The former Israel national team boss will be the firm favourite for the job. The club have not yet named Hart's successor however, and coaches Paul Groves and Ian Woan have taken temporary charge of the first team.
Portsmouth said in a statement that Hart was "relieved of his duties", and stressed the decision was taken "reluctantly" and on the basis of recent results. The club said Hart turned down the role of technical director, with responsibility for players aged 18 to 21.
Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie said on the club's official website: "Paul has worked under very difficult circumstances with the financial restrictions the club has faced since he took over. However, the board feels that the team should have accrued more points to date and that we need a new man in charge to ensure Premier League survival.
"The board would like to thank Paul for his work not only in keeping the club in the Premier League last season but also for his time in charge of youth development," the statement continued. "Paul is a man of great dignity and we hoped he would stay and help us develop younger players on the fringes of the first team. We are genuinely sad to see him leave. Everyone at the club wishes him well for the future."
Hart was Portsmouth's director of youth operations until being handed the chance to take over from former manager Tony Adams in February this year, initially as caretaker boss. After the team avoided relegation, Hart was named as Portsmouth's full-time manager in July, however they began this season with seven straight league defeats.
Portsmouth have since beaten Wolves and Wigan but have been unable to break away from the bottom of the league. They have three consecutive home matches ahead, with United's visit on Saturday followed by a League Cup clash with Aston Villa on Tuesday and a league tussle with Burnley four days later.