Grant clear favourite for Portsmouth job

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The Independent Football

Avram Grant is the clear favourite to succeed the sacked Paul Hart as Portsmouth manager.

The former Chelsea boss would be a straightforward internal appointment, having returned to the club for a second spell as director of football in October.

The Israeli, who is expected to receive a UK work permit this week, has tried to play down the situation but that has not prevented reports an appointment could be imminent from gathering pace.

Former Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson and ex-Charlton and West Ham boss Alan Curbishley could also be strong contenders, but Grant would appear the logical choice.

The 54-year-old took charge at Chelsea in similar circumstances two years ago and went on to take the club to the Champions League final.

The club's new owner Ali Al Faraj is reportedly travelling to the UK this Friday.

If Grant is appointed this week, his first match in charge would be against champions Manchester United at Fratton Park on Saturday.

He would take over a side bottom of the Barclays Premier League with just seven points from 13 games.

It was that poor start which cost Hart - who was appointed after the sacking of Tony Adams in February - his job.

Hart, however, may not be finished with the south coast club as he considers the offer of a new post as technical director.

In announcing Hart had been relieved of his duties last night, the club said he had declined the position, which entails overseeing the development of players aged 18-21.

The situation changed today as the club revealed Hart is now reconsidering.

A spokesman said: "Paul Hart is considering the position of technical director.

"He had a further conversation with (chief executive) Peter Storrie last night and said he would go away and get back to us.

"Hopefully he will stay at the club and work in the capacity of technical director. Everyone at the club would be delighted if he stayed."

Ferguson was among the first names to be linked with the post having left Championship Peterborough, whom he guided to two promotions, earlier this month.

Appointing him this week would create an intriguing match-up with his father Sir Alex Ferguson at the weekend.

Curbishley is available having been out of work since leaving West Ham a year ago while another clubless manager, former Reading boss Steve Coppell, has also been linked.