Hughton in line for greater Tottenham role

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Tottenham's director of football, David Pleat, confirmed yesterday that the first-team coach Chris Hughton might be given a greater role in running the team for the rest of the season while the club searches for a long-term successor to Glenn Hoddle.

Pleat was instated as the caretaker coach after Hoddle was sacked on 21 September following a poor run of results, and has steered Spurs away from the relegation zone with three wins and two draws from their last seven Premiership matches.

But with little sign of a managerial appointment being made any time soon the 58-year-old Pleat needs more help as he tries to juggle two jobs and Hughton, who is also the Ireland assistant coach, is in line for an enhanced role as first-team head coach.

"The club will be putting out a statement sometime before Christmas," Pleat said. "I am just trying to explain how things work and how things can work. What we should be looking at is having a head coach in charge of the senior players, worried just about coaching and the game on a Saturday."

It is the third time that Hughton, a former Ireland full-back and an FA Cup winner with Spurs - for whom he made 398 appearances - has teamed up with the director of football to temporarily run the first team.

Pleat, who would be able to focus on his duties as director of football if Hughton is given a more formal role with the first team, added: "Chris has already done a terrific job here. We have carried things for the past few weeks.

But indicating he would like to concentrate more on his main role at the club, Pleat said: "A director of football would sort out players' contracts and deal with those awful people called agents."

Tottenham, who moved up to 12th place after Sunday's 2-1 win at home to Aston Villa, are expected to outline new arrangements at the club's AGM on 11 December.

Hughton left White Hart Lane in 1990 and following a loan spell at West Ham, he moved to Brentford in 1992, where he retired from playing a year later because of injury.

He returned to Spurs in 1993 as a member of the backroom team, working with the Under-21 team and then the reserves, before Hoddle appointed him first-team coach after taking charge of the club in April 2001.

As well as gaining his full Football Association coaching badge, Hughton is one of only 10 English coaches to secure Uefa's highly-rated, pro-licence certificate. His talents were also recognised in February this year, when Brian Kerr took charge of the Republic of Ireland and appointed him as an assistant.