RICHIE Barker - the former Bury boss - has been sacked as manager of Portsmouth, it has been reported.

The 2008 FA Cup winners are in freefall, in 22nd place in the League Two table following Tuesday night's 3-0 defeat at Rochdale.

With Pompey facing the real prospect of falling out of the Football League altogether, Barker, aged 38, has carried the can, with Andy Awford replacing him as caretaker manager for Saturday's trip to Newport. 

Barker took Bury to promotion from League Two in 2011 after being promoted from youth team boss following the sudden departure of Alan Knill two months before the end of the season.

He led the Shakers to a successful first season in the third tier before leaving just five days before the start of the 2012/13 season to take over at Crawley Town.

The Brighton-based manager was sacked by Crawley shortly before he was appointed as Guy Whittingham's replacement at Fratton Park in December, last year.

He was brought to the club by former Bury chief executive Mark Catlin, who is now CEO at Fratton Park.

Barker's record at Portsmouth was not great, guiding them to just four wins in his 20 matches in charge.

Tuesday night’s defeat at Spotland was their third in a row, leaving the pre-season promotion favourites just one place and two points above the relegation zone with seven games to play.

Portsmouth are due to visit Bury, who are currently 19th place, on the penultimate game of the season in what could easily become a relegation decider.