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Southampton sack Pardew

Southampton have sacked manager Alan Pardew - just two days after the club's 4-0 win at Bristol Rovers, with assistant boss Dean Wilkins stepping into the breach as caretaker for the time being.

The League One side issued a statement on Monday claiming an overhaul was needed and that "it is essential to make changes to the first team management and coaching''.

Pardew, 49, led Saints to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in March with a 4-1 win over Carlisle at Wembley and they started the season as firm favourites to achieve promotion to the Championship, although one win in their first three matches leaves them 14th in the table.

"Following a review of the current status in and around the first team, the club has decided that, to achieve its well known targets, it is essential to make changes to the first team management and coaching," the club's statement read.

"These targets for sustained and significant progress embrace both the first team and the football development and support centre as integrated, co-operative units.

"Consequently, the first team manager Alan Pardew, first team coach Wally Downes and goalkeeping coach Stuart Murdoch have been relieved of their duties with immediate effect. We wish them well for the future.

"While we have commenced our careful evaluation of our candidates and longer term requirements, Dean Wilkins has taken on the caretaker role for the first team and he will be assisted by Martin Hunter, the Under-21 coach.

"We recognise that frequent changes to the football management are unlikely to assist in the winning of trophies and promotions.

"However, we are taking these steps to achieve our aims, which we share with all supporters, to get promoted this season, and secure long term stability and progress for our football operations.''

Pardew becomes the fourth manager in the Football League to leave his post since the start of the season, following the departures of Steve Coppell (Bristol City), Kevin Blackwell (Sheffield United) and Chris Turner (Hartlepool).

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