County, however, have made it clear that results only played a small part in the decision. "The board realise Howard was handed a very difficult task," said County vice-chairman John Mounteney, "but results apart, we were not happy with the way the club was being run by the manager and his assistant." Russell Slade, Kendall's assistant, has also left the club.
Wayne Jones, the team coach, has been put in charge of first team affairs with former Liverpool star Steve Nicol and Dean Thomas, the experienced County player, acting as his assistants.
John Aldridge did not even merit a place on the bench for the Republic of Ireland's 1-1 draw in Dublin last Wednesday. He assuaged some of the disappointment with two goals in Tranmere's 4-2 win over Portsmouth at Prenton Park, "the best possible response," according to the Rovers' manager John King.
The victory gave Rovers a much-needed fillip after two away defeats and stretched their impregnable home form to 16th home wins this season as they moved back into second place in the First Division.
Wolves and Reading took advantage of Bolton's appointment at Wembley to move above them. Stuart Lovell's first-ever hat-trick accounted for Reading's win and the 200th League goal of Steve Bull's career was enough for Wolves to win at Southend.
Peter Reid started his rescue mission as player-manager of Sunderland with a dour 1-0 win over Sheffield United. The Blades had Jostein Flo stretched off and David Tuttle sent off before the Rokerites' 72nd-minute substitute, Craig Russell, scored in the 89th minute.
"We were wimps and at this rate I will be looking for nine new players next season," the Sheffield manager Dave Bassett calmly observed. "Only Kelly and Tuttle have any future at this club after a performance like that." Reid was more upbeat. "There is still a long way to go but I was proud of the way the lads battled," he said.
Brentford went back to the top of the Second Division after a 3-0 home win and Huddersfield's surprise 2-1 setback against Peterborough. There was a controversial ending at Crewe, where the Oxford manager Denis Smith was dismissed from the dug-out after a row with referee Kevin Lynch. The view from elsewhere will not have improved his temper as Crewe turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win.
This afternoon, Manchester United attempt to close the six points lead established by Blackburn Rovers. The visitors, Leeds, have not won at Old Trafford for 14 years. United replace their suspended captain, Steve Bruce, with Roy Keane.Reuse content