Gary Smith has lost his job as manager of Stevenage.
The 44-year-old signed an 18-month contract with the Hertfordshire club back in January 2012, and last season led them to the FA Cup fifth round for the first time in their history before losing to Tottenham Hotspur in a replay at White Hart Lane.
In League One, a run of four wins in their last five matches secured a playoff berth, yet they lost out to Sheffield United in the semi-final. After a bright start to the current campaign results have tailed off of late, and they are currently 15th in the standings.
The 2-0 loss at struggling Bury on Tuesday night was their 14th defeat since December, and leaves them well off the pace for a shot at promotion to the Championship. And on Wednesday, it was confirmed that Smith has been shown the door.
“It’s always difficult when you have to replace the man in charge. Gary has done his best but the performances and results over the past few months have been worrying in the extreme,” Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace told the club’s official website.
“After a very promising start with a new squad, we have slipped alarmingly and the board are concerned that the present management team may be unable to deliver the clubs vision of increasing attendances and developing players in a winning environment.
“We have waited longer than most other clubs in similar circumstances have, but we cannot in all good conscience continue to watch this downward spiral and do nothing about it. It’s time for a change and we’ll see who applies for the position.”
Captain Mark Roberts, 29, has been named as caretaker manager whilst a permanent appointment is sought, and his first match in charge will be a trip to promotion hopefuls Tranmere Rovers, in front of the Sky TV cameras, on Sunday afternoon.
Smith becomes the 12th manager to have been sacked since the turn of the year, and the second of the week after Michael Appleton was issued with his P45 at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday, just 67 days into his spell at the Ewood Park club.