Football: Southampton to tempt Jones from Stockport

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The Independent Online
David Jones, the manager of Stockport County, yesterday emerged as the man who may replace Graeme Souness as the new manager of Southampton, after it was revealed that the Saints' chairman, Rupert Lowe, is not considering David Platt for the position.

Stockport confirmed the Hampshire club had approached Jones and his assistant, John Sainty, although a spokesman for Southampton said: "At the moment we cannot confirm or deny the reports that David Jones will be moving to Southampton."

Jones fits Southampton's bill as a shrewd, limited-budget manager who can spot a bargain and still produce attractive teams. He had a successful 1996-97 season with Stockport, leading them to promotion to the First Division and to the last four of the Coca-Cola Cup. Before losing to Middlesbrough in the semi-finals, they beat three Premiership clubs including, ironically, Southampton, at The Dell.

Stockport are already looking for a new manager, with Sammy McIlroy of Macclesfield Town, their first choice. McIlroy guided Macclesfield into the Football League from the GM Vauxhall Conference last season.

Platt, who fell out fo the unning for the Saints job when it became clear they were not looking for a player-manager, will now remain at Arsenal, who are reported to be interested in Paraguay's highly-rated defender Ayala Celso. The sweeper, who plays for the South American champions River Plate in Argentina, has had an outstanding tournament in the Copa America and is rated at pounds 2m.

The Leeds United striker, Brian Deane, has confirmed he wants to leave Elland Road, with the Dutch side Feyenoord his most likely destination.

Brighton's future as a Nationwide League club looks to be under threat again following the failure to meet yesterday's deadline for payment of a pounds 500,000 bond to the Football League, as demanded by the League's 72 clubs at their annual general meeting.

Jimmy Nicholl was yesterday named as the manager of Raith Rovers with immediate effect. The former Northern Ireland international returns for a second spell in charge of the Kirkcaldy club that he led into the Uefa Cup two years ago.

Stoke City are trying to sign the veteran striker Paul Stewart to clear the way for the sale of the pounds 2.5m-rated Mike Sheron. The managerless club have made an approach to the experienced Sunderland player, who wants to move closer to his Blackpool home.

Scott Green, the Bolton Wanderers winger, turned down Tranmere Rovers yesterday to join Wigan Athletic. Green was set to sign for the Birkenhead club for pounds 300,000, but Wigan came up with better personal terms and signed him for the same fee. An angry Frank Corfe, Tranmere's chairman, said: "It's disgraceful. I'm very unhappy about it."