Bottom of the table Pompey sack manager Hart
Portsmouth have sacked manager Paul Hart after the club's poor start to the season left them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.
The former Nottingham Forest boss has left with immediate effect after Pompey took just seven points from 13 matches.
Portsmouth's most recent defeat came at Stoke City on Sunday, when they were beaten 1-0 at the Britannia. Midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng missed a penalty with eight minutes of the match gone but Ricardo Fuller's second-half strike was enough to consign Hart's side to their tenth defeat of the campaign.
The club said Hart's successor would be appointed "very quickly" with director of football Avram Grant the early favourite. 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. Chief executive Peter Storrie said Hart had been offered a role as technical director, working with young players, but had refused.
Storrie said on the club's 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. 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 Carling Cup clash with Aston Villa on Tuesday and a league tussle with Burnley four days later.