Summerfield 'not disturbed' by Saints rumours

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The Independent Football

Having survived several weeks of unsettling speculation over the future of Paul Sturrock before their manager's departure to Southampton, the Second Division leaders, Plymouth Argyle, find themselves dealing with a wave of rumours about the stand-in, Kevin Summerfield.

Having survived several weeks of unsettling speculation over the future of Paul Sturrock before their manager's departure to Southampton, the Second Division leaders, Plymouth Argyle, find themselves dealing with a wave of rumours about the stand-in, Kevin Summerfield.

The 45-year-old, who has been on the Home Park coaching staff since October 2000, has been tipped to rejoin Sturrock at Southampton but has so far refused to confirm or deny the link. Neither has he said whether he wishes to be considered as the successor to Sturrock with the Pilgrims.

The Plymouth-born Trevor Francis, Peter Reid and John Gregory have all been spoken of as candidates, but after the ease of transition from Sturrock to Summerfield - the side are seven points clear in the Second Division after taking seven points from his three games in charge - the former assistant has a growing well of support.

The chairman, Paul Stapleton, is reported to have a "gentleman's agreement" with Southampton that none of Argyle's coaching staff will move along the south coast before the summer, but speculation mounted after Gary Pendry, who was Gordon Strachan's number two, left the Saints last week.

Summerfield says he is not disturbed by the rumours. "As long as it doesn't affect the players, it doesn't matter," he said. "When Paul left, people worried they might dip, but they haven't."Plymouth are away to sixth-placed Luton today.

Second-placed Queen's Park Rangers are unbeaten in seven but will be under pressure to win at bottom-of-the-table Wycombe Wanderers with Bristol City, at home to Oldham, a point behind.

Southend's LDV Vans Trophy final leaves Hull City without a game in the Third Division, giving a chance to the leaders, Doncaster, to stretch their lead to seven points by beating lowly Darlington at Belle Vue.

The Doncaster manager, Dave Penney, is not taking promotion for granted, a year after regaining League status via the Conference play-offs. "At the start of the season we would have settled for staying up, then after a good start you think about the play-offs," he said. "Now everybody says we are going to be champions. But until things are mathematically finalised, you have to keep pushing on."

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