Wigley is allowed to carry on coaching at Saints

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The Independent Football

The coach of Southampton, Steve Wigley, has been granted a stay of execution by the Premier League despite not holding the necessary qualifications.

Wigley, who replaced Paul Sturrock in August, is not in possession of the Uefa Pro Diploma required by all managers and coaches in the top flight, and there was speculation that he would be forced to step down in December when his three-month period of leeway with the Premier League expired.

However, Wigley holds the Uefa A Licence and, as it was impossible to complete his Pro Diploma in the given time, he has been given special dispensation to continue in his role until 1 August next year.

The situation is similar to Chris Coleman at Fulham, who was given the job in April 2003 after the departure of Jean Tigana, despite not having the required qualifications, while Leeds were afforded special dispensation to employ Eddie Gray as manager during a turbulent year for the club.

There was some bad news for the Saints, however, when it was confirmed that they will be without James Beattie for six weeks. The 26-year-old broke his toe during Saturday's 0-0 home draw against Manchester City.

Wigley will now be grateful for the two-week international break which will give him time to nurse the likes of Rory Delap, Kevin Phillips and Graeme Le Saux back to full fitness.

Southampton hope Le Saux' knee injury will be nothing more serious than bruising, while Delap also has a slight knee injury and Phillips a finger problem.