Newport County sack manager Graham Westley

Graham Westley
Graham Westley has had three spells as manager of Stevenage

League Two strugglers Newport County have parted company with manager Graham Westley after five months in charge.

Coach Mike Flynn takes charge for the rest of the 2016-17 season with Wayne Hatswell as his assistant.

They are 11 points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Football League.

After losing 4-0 at home to Leyton Orient last Saturday, Newport's board reportedly gave Westley two games to save his job, but then denied any such deadline had been set.external-link

Late on Wednesday night they decided to tell Westley his services were no longer required and the players were informed on Thursday morning.

Newport have also let Westley's assistant Dino Maamria go and Flynn's coaching staff is yet to be finalised.

Westley, who replaced Warren Feeney at Rodney Parade in October 2016, was County's fifth manager since Justin Edinburgh left to join Gillingham in February 2015.

The club statementexternal-link read: "The board of directors would like to place on record its thanks to Graham and Dino for their hard work in challenging circumstances.

"Graham has worked extremely hard in improving standards throughout the club."

It had been decided at a meeting on Monday that Westley would be in charge for the away matches at Crewe Alexandra on 11 March and Morecambe on 14 March.

But former County midfielder Flynn, whom Westley brought back to the club following his appointment, will now take temporary charge starting at Crewe.

Last Saturday's home loss to Leyton Orient - the side directly above them - was a bitter blow, with Westley describing it as a "devastating defeat" and admitting relegation was looking a likely prospect.

'Beyond desperation'

Nathan Blake
Nathan Blake is a former Newport County player and director

Former Newport and Wales striker Nathan Blake says the move to dismiss Westley came as no surprise but that he now fears for County's future.

Blake left his role as a County non-executive director during the process that saw the Exiles become a Supporters' Trust run club.

"I am not surprised at all," Blake told BBC Radio Wales Sport. "It has been a difficult season and [the situation now] is beyond desperation.

"I feel the board now have to sit down and get together and talk to people with more knowledge than themselves.

"I am keeping my fingers crossed that the club survives.

"I predicted this situation from last season, I predicted Michael Flynn would end up being manager and coming in at a time where he probably takes County down and out of the Football League.

"There is probably not a lot Michael can do, other than rally the troops.

"It is a long shot to stay up now. They introduced 14 new players in January, let the manager do it and then sacked him six weeks later.

"It blows my mind, it is no way to run a football club.

"They need to get some experience on the board this summer. The club needs a philosophy.

"They keep following whatever the manager wants to do. But the board should lead the club, the manager should lead the team.

"There has to be a plan. Because the worry is for the future of the entire club."

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