Newport players are stunned as axe drops on Warren Feeney
Warren Feeney's dismissal as Newport County boss has left the players stunned, with skipper Scot Bennett expressing his shock at the news.
The former Northern Ireland international was axed by the League Two club yesterday after masterminding just one win in his last 22 matches at the helm.
With the club now looking for their sixth manager in under two years, Bennett wrote on social media: "Absolutely gutted waking up to the news of the gaffer being sacked.
"Top manager and top bloke and all I can do is wish him well for the future."
The final nail in Feeney's coffin was Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat away at Grimsby and, with the club rooted to the bottom of the League Two table, he was released just nine matches into the season.
The former Linfield boss said he would be releasing a statement through the League Managers' Association after his sacking.
While results have been disappointing, Feeney was under pressure from the very start of Newport's campaign this season after a run of 11 games at the end of last season's campaign without a win.
A Newport County statement read: "The club can today confirm that manager Warren Feeney has been relieved of his duties as first-team manager.
"Following a mixed start to the season the Board of Directors feel a change is necessary.
"We would like to thank Warren for his service since joining the club back in October 2015 and wish him all the best for his future career. In addition, assistant manager, Andy Todd, has also left the club with immediate effect. First-team coaches Sean McCarthy and James Bittner will remain at the club in their respective positions and assume caretaker responsibilities.
"The club is intending to make an appointment as soon as possible and will make an announcement in due course."
Feeney was appointed in January, having previously been the Exiles' assistant manager, and replaced former boss John Sheridan, who left to join Oldham Athletic.
He was assisted by former Bolton and Blackburn defender Todd, who was also his assistant at Linfield.
It's a setback for the former Bournemouth and Luton man, but the 35-year-old, who started his coaching career at Salisbury City, will return with a desire to succeed on the sidelines.
Newport were 20th in the table when Feeney took on the difficult role, but he steered them clear of relegation as they finished one place and nine points above the bottom two last season.
Speaking at the weekend, he said he understood the pressurised environment he was working in, saying: "I take full responsibility for everything. You can stand here and say this or say that, but the results don't lie."
After the Grimsby loss he blasted defender Dan Butler for pulling the shirt of substitute Tom Balarinwa in the box with just two minutes remaining and Omar Bogle scored the winner from the spot.
"I'm getting sick of it," he said. "It's not even a basic mistake - it's embarrassing. I can't get my head round what he's trying to do. It was a rush of blood.
"I thought he played decent for 88 minutes and he goes and does that. It's unacceptable."