Dean Keates: Walsall sack manager with team in League One relegation zone
Manager Dean Keates has been sacked by Walsall after Saturday's loss to Oxford, with the Saddlers third from bottom of League One.
Walsall are a point from safety with five matches remaining after losing five successive games.
Keates, who had two spells at Walsall as a player, returned as manager in March last year after leaving Wrexham.
He steered them to safety last term but they have slipped into trouble again after a run of 10 defeats in 13 games.
"Walsall Football Club have tonight parted company with manager Dean Keates with immediate effect," said a club statement.
"The club would like to place on record its thanks to Dean for all his hard work and dedication during his time with the Saddlers and wish him well for the future."
Walsall began the season with four wins and a draw from their first five league games and were fifth in the table before they lost for the first time, at home to Doncaster in mid-September.
But they have won only four times in League One since the end of October under Keates, 40, to slide down the table.
However, their fate this season remains in their own hands, with their next three games against fellow strugglers Accrington, Southend and Wycombe.