Pleat's spell in charge to extend Spurs' limbo

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The Independent Football

David Pleat will not be made Tottenham's new manager - but the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, is willing to let the caretaker run the team as long as he keeps them out of trouble.

This peculiar state of limbo has been decided on by Levy in consultation with Pleat, who had been widely tipped to take charge on a full-time basis for the rest of the season.

But Tottenham fear the "Fergie factor" if Pleat is given the post for the remainder of the campaign. After the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, announced his intention to retire, he struggled to get the best out of his players. Pleat is happy to continue in his role, which has been successful so far, and now has no deadline at all. By co-operating he is also cementing his place behind the scenes at White Hart Lane.

Levy is willing to wait, knowing the pressure is off him while Pleat is picking up results. If Spurs stay safe and have a Cup run it also means there is no need to spend during the transfer window.

Both are happy that the present atmosphere of uncertainty is bringing the best out of the players and keeping everyone on their toes - although that could soon change.

Neither Pleat nor Levy want to make the announcement and change the scenery at Spurs. If they keep picking up results then that will be the way they see out the season.

It also gives Levy more time to find a long-term replacement for Glenn Hoddle. Celtic's Martin O'Neill and Blackburn's Graeme Souness are not interested at the moment, but that may change.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have reported Chelsea to the Premier League for apparently using Peter Kenyon's services when he is still under contract at Old Trafford.

Kenyon is currently on "gardening leave" from United who have yet to reach an agreement with Chelsea as to when he can start working for them as chief executive.

However, a report in Spain quoted Real Madrid's director of football Jorge Valdano saying he had talked with Kenyon about Chelsea signing Michel Salgado, and, as a consequence, United have pointed out the matter to the Premier League.

Under the terms of Kenyon's contract he has to give United a full year's notice but negotiations are continuing with Chelsea, who will have to pay compensation if they want him to start work earlier.

A United spokesman said: "Negotiations are ongoing and no agreement has been reached on settling the departure date."

United are keen to avoid a bitter dispute with Chelsea, but by reporting the Salgado incident to the Premier League have ensured that it is taken into account in negotiations over compensation.

Crystal Palace are trying to sign Leeds United's forgotten centre-half Michael Duberry - as their manager, Steve Kember, fights to keep his job. Palace are negotiating for Duberry to join them on loan, and hard-up Leeds are likely to let him leave to get some of his wages off the payroll.

Duberry was on the substitutes' bench for Leeds' Carling Cup tie with Manchester United, but has been out of the first-team picture.

Kember needs a new defender and is under growing pressure to pull off results, with the chairman, Simon Jordan, looking for a quick improvement. The pair had a showdown meeting and Kember was left in no doubt that Jordan wants to see Palace pick up fast and climb the First Division table.