Stockport have sacked manager Paul Simpson after less than six months in the job.
The npower League Two club have won just five of their 23 league games since Simpson was installed as Gary Ablett's successor in July and lie four points above the relegation zone.
A club statement read: "After much deliberation, and in view of the recent run of just three wins in the last 19 games, it has been decided that a change is necessary if the club is to achieve its aims for this season and beyond.
"The board would like to place on record their thanks to Paul for his considerable efforts while at Edgeley Park and wish him well for the future.
"This is a very important time for Stockport County Football Club, with our Football League status the main priority, the board felt that given the club's current league position, the best way forward was to agree to make a change now.
"The board of directors are pleased to announce that Peter Ward will be placed in charge of first team affairs as 'caretaker' manager, these changes will commence with immediate effect.
"After initial talks between the board and Peter Ward, Stockport County's supporters can look forward to seeing four or five new players arrive at Edgeley Park in January."