Football: Mandaric's end-of-year clear-out continues at Pompey

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MILAN MANDARIC, Portsmouth's multi-millionaire chairman, has sacked the club's assistant manager, Kevin Bond, and reserve-team coach, Ted MacDougall. Bond, 42, was assistant to Alan Ball, who lost his job last week after less than two years in charge at Fratton Park, following a sequence of one win in 11 matches.

David Deacon, Pompey's managing director, said: "We are clearing the way for a new manager. We have begun interviewing for a replacement for Alan Ball, and Bond and MacDougall were his appointments. We feel that for the club to succeed a new manager should be allowed to bring in his own men."

Gary Megson remains the favourite to take over, but the former Huddersfield manager Peter Jackson has also joined the Portsmouth shortlist.

Aston Villa's Italian striker Benito Carbone has asked his manager, John Gregory, if he can take over as captain for Saturday's match against his former club, Sheffield Wednesday. But Gregory has no plans to take the captain's duties off Gareth Southgate, as Villa will seek to record their first Premiership win in 10 attempts.

Carbone joined Villa from Wednesday in October and Gregory said: "He has already asked me for the captain's armband. Apparently it is an Italian tradition that when a player plays against his old club he is normally made the captain. But he is in England now, not Italy."

Adrian Heath, who resigned as Sheffield United manager last month, has rejoined Sunderland as senior coach. Heath, who left Sunderland in the summer to take over at Bramall Lane, will assist Peter Reid and Bobby Saxton in coaching the first team and the reserves.

The Gillingham manager, Peter Taylor, has failed with a pounds 110,000 attempt to sign the Swindon Town striker Iffy Onuora as a replacement for Bob Taylor following his pounds 1.5m move to Manchester City earlier this month. Onuora, 32, said: "I want to help Swindon out of the position they're in."