NEWPORT County AFC’s rivals for promotion Tranmere Rovers have sacked manager Keith Hill the week before their play-off semi-final against Morecambe.

The Wirral side finished seventh in League Two to earn a clash with the Shrimps but stumbled to the line after previously being in the mix for the top three.

Tranmere took 12 points from a possible 33 in the run-in and have taken the drastic step of sacking Hill and going into the double-header with Morecambe under the temporary charge of Ian Dawes.

Chairman Mark Palios said: “Despite success achieved on the pitch in the form of securing a place in the play-offs and reaching the Papa John’s Trophy final, in the play-offs an entire season gets distilled into two or three games.

“I have to do what I think gives us the best chance of achieving promotion in those games and I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that means making the change before the semi-finals begin.”

Hill took permanent charge of Rovers in November last year, on a deal to the end of the current season.

Dawes performed well in a caretaker capacity following the departure of Mike Jackson last autumn, with Palios saying he and assistant Andy Parkinson had done “a remarkable job” and bought the club time to conduct a thorough recruitment process, which ended with Hill getting the job.

Tranmere host Morecambe on Thursday, May 20 before the return leg on Sunday, May 23.

The winners will then watch event from Forest Green in the evening to find out their Wembley opponents.