Steve Burr: Kidderminster Harriers part company with manager
Conference Premier promotion hopefuls Kidderminster Harriers have parted company with manager Steve Burr.
The 53-year-old, who took charge in January 2010, leaves just three days after Harriers drew 0-0 with League One Peterborough in the FA Cup third round.
But Burr's side have won just one of their last five Conference Premier games to slip to seventh in the table.
The highly regarded Burr turned down an approach from divisional rivals Forest Green Rovers in early November.
But he now appears to have paid the price for his side's indifferent form since then.
Capped by a club Conference record 6-0 defeat at promotion rivals Luton on 29 December, they have slipped from second to seventh, now out of the play-off zone on goal difference.
"I'm sorry to be leaving," said Burr, in a statement on the club's website. "But there is a good group of players there. Hopefully they can kick on and get the success that the club deserves.
"I'm especially grateful to the fans because they've been magnificent since I've been there. "
In another statement released by the club announcing Burr's departure, the Harriers board have reiterated that reaching League Two remains their aim this season.
"The board of directors would like to state explicitly again that its sole ambition for this season is to achieve promotion back to the Football League and that they are fully committed to taking whatever step necessary to reach that goal," it said.
The club's attention will also be focused on setting up a potentially lucrative fourth-round FA Cup tie at Premier League side Sunderland, Saturday's spirited showing having earned a third-round replay at Peterborough next Tuesday night (14 January).
Harriers were ninth in the Conference four years ago when the Stalybridge Celtic boss was appointed by then chairman Barry Norgrove to succeed Mark Yates, who had left for Cheltenham Town.
Within two months, Burr had led Harriers to the FA Trophy semi-finals, which they lost to Stevenage, but they slipped to 13th in the table.
Burr then led Kidderminster to successive sixth-place finishes in 2011 and 2012 before last season's impressive run of just four defeats in 36 league games took them to the fringe of automatic promotion.
After missing out on the title to Mansfield Town by just two points, second-placed Harriers then lost to Wrexham in the play-off semi-finals.
But, having been expected to challenge strongly again this time round, they now trail leaders Luton by 15 points.
"We have made a very difficult decision as a board of directors, which we feel is the right decision for Kidderminster Harriers to go forward," said chairman Mark Serrell.
"Whether that decision was correct or not, only time will tell.
"These things happen in football.
"This decision has not been taken lightly. A lot of thought and discussion has taken place.
"And the same goes for what happens in the future.
"It was personally a sad day for me.
"I was not involved in the process of appointing Steve. But, in my tenure, he's been a very nice, affable man to deal with.
"I have wished him all the best and Steve has been very understanding of the matter."