Football: Odds stacked heavily against Ardiles: Pressure mounts on Spurs' manager after another home defeat

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

GLENN HODDLE is the man most people want to see installed as the next Tottenham manager if Ossie Ardiles leaves the club.

Ardiles cancelled his team's day off yesterday. Instead they did extra training after the latest debacle - a home defeat by First Division strugglers Watford in the Coca-Cola Cup on Tuesday - as speculation mounted over his future.

There is a growing belief that Ardiles' tenure at White Hart Lane is coming to an end. William Hill, the bookmakers, have stopped taking bets on the former Argentinian World Cup winner losing his job by the end of the season after he became the most heavily backed boss to lose his job.

Hill's cut Ardiles' odds from 10/1 to 8/1 after taking a number of bets and their spokesman, Graham Sharpe, said: 'We believe behind- the-scenes activity means there will be many people far more aware of the true state of affairs at the club than we could ever be.

'For the same reason we cannot open a book on who would replace Ossie, but judging by the requests from would-be punters, Glenn Hoddle would be odds-on favourite if we did.'

Hoddle, the former Spurs hero currently in charge of Chelsea, has also been linked with Monaco but the Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, has said he would make strenuous efforts to keep him at Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile, Ardiles must battle on and, with Tottenham having conceding 22 goals already this season, he admitted: 'There are a lot of adjustments to be made, some sorting out to be done.' Spurs still reached the last 16 of the Coca-Cola Cup 8-6 on aggregate despite going down 3-2 in the second leg to Watford, but the manager, like the fans, is running out of patience.

'Our defending was simply unacceptable and it is a fair guess to say there will be changes on Saturday,' said Ardiles, who dismissed reports of his interest in Norwich's former Tottenham pair, Ian Culverhouse and Mark Bowen, as 'pure speculation'.

'Our defending was embarrassing, amateurish really. I feel badly let down because some players can't seem to grasp the basic ABC of defending. Thank God we have so many wonderful attacking players.'

The Watford manager, Glenn Roeder, saw his substitute striker Lee Nogan score twice in the second half, Nick Barmby and Jurgen Klinsmann having scored equalisers for Spurs after Colin Foster's towering header had put Watford in front on the night. But Roeder had some comforting words for Ardiles.

'At a time when managers are criticised for being too defensive it seems harsh that Ossie gets stick for having too much of an attack- minded policy,' Roeder said.

'Hopefully things will turn around for him but my only disappointment is that we didn't punish Spurs more at the back.'

Watford's Darren Bazeley, injured after only nine minutes after a collision with Klinsmann, had to go to hospital with a suspected broken collar-bone.

Sheffield Wednesday's England midfielder, Andy Sinton, could miss the match with the champions, Manchester United, at Hillsborough on Saturday after picking up a head injury in Tuesday night's Coca-Cola Cup draw at Bradford.

'Andy took a nasty bang on the temple in the first half,' Trevor Francis, the Wednesday manager, said. 'When he came into the dressing room at half-time he was vomiting and he went out for the second half despite suffering from blurred vision.'

In another Cup tie, Frank Clark was forced to relive bitter memories at Edgar Street before seeing Nottingham Forest safely overcome Hereford with a goalless draw.

The Forest manager was a member of the Newcastle side that was on the receiving end of one of the biggest FA Cup shocks in history when they were beaten by Ronnie Radford's remarkable long shot. Twenty-two years on from that painful day, the memories came flooding back as Hereford's Andy Reece was given the glimmer of a chance to send the second-round tie into extra time.

But the opportunity was missed, and although the Third Division team became the first side to stop Clark's men scoring this season, Forest's 2-1 victory from the first leg proved enough.

'When I saw one of their player's get the ball with five minutes to go Ronnie Radford's goal flashed up in front of me,' a relieved Clark said. 'I am just glad we got through to the next round.'

(Photograph omitted)

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