London: One-time English football force Portsmouth confirmed Thursday they`d effectively sacked manager Richie Barker with the club in danger of bowing out of the full-time professional Football League.
Barker`s tenure at Fratton Park lasted fewer than four months and he bowed out of the south coast club following Tuesday`s 3-0 loss at Rochdale.
That defeat left Portsmouth, FA Cup winners as recently as 2008, just one place and two points above the relegation zone in fourth tier League Two, the lowest rung of England`s Football League.
Relegation would see Pompey, beset by a series of financial and ownership scandals in recent years before a fans` takeover in April 2013, demoted into the non-league Conference.
Academy boss and former Portsmouth player Andy Awford has been named caretaker manager until the end of the season, with Pompey now having seven games in which to preserve their league status.
"Following a meeting between Richie and the board, both parties agreed that it was in the best interests of the club," said a Portsmouth statement issued Thursday.
"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."
Former Bury and Crawley boss Barker, 38, only replaced Guy Whittingham, a former Portsmouth striker, in December but couldn`t stop their slide down the table.
Awford`s second stint in caretaker charge will begin away to Newport on Saturday.