Portsmouth to bring in Perrin and Pleat to beat drop

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth will today announce Alain Perrin as their new manager. The 48-year-old Frenchman is expected to sign a two-year deal and will be assisted until the end of the season by the former Tottenham Hotspur manager David Pleat.

Portsmouth will today announce Alain Perrin as their new manager. The 48-year-old Frenchman is expected to sign a two-year deal and will be assisted until the end of the season by the former Tottenham Hotspur manager David Pleat.

The appointments mean that the present caretaker manager, Velimir Zajec, will revert to his role as executive director. However, his duties will be diluted and last night there were doubts as to whether he would stay at the club beyond this season. At the same time, the club's coach, Joe Jordan, has been assured that his job is safe by the Portsmouth chairman, Milan Mandaric.

Perrin, who was interviewed last week, was offered the job after a meeting of the Portsmouth board yesterday. He was still in France last night and said he was waiting to hear the exact details of his contract. "I'm waiting for a call from the chairman, but I'm not the only candidate so I don't know yet," he said.

However, Mandaric, although qualifying his remarks by saying the deal was not "done and dusted", was clear. "We have our number one candidate and that is Alain Perrin," he revealed. "Alain is not coming just for seven games, he's coming to sign a contract as a manager for seven games plus two years". He added: "David Pleat would come for seven games to help him out on all the issues of English football."

Pleat, a former director of football at Spurs also, will act as an experienced consultant to Perrin who is new to English football. He will provide information on opponents and help to provide advice at a crucial time for Portsmouth who are only four points clear of the relegation places after a disastrous run under Zajec who took over, reluctantly, after Harry Redknapp walked out. However, Pleat will not be involved in team selection.

Perrin, who played under Arsène Wenger at Nancy, and was given his first coaching job at that club, progressed to Troyes, whom he took from France's semi-professional Fourth Division into the top flight and then into Europe inside 10 years. He moved on to coach Marseilles in 2002, where he took them into the Champions' League at the first attempt, before he was sacked.

He has made no secret of his desire to work in the Premiership and was interviewed last year for the Southampton post after Gordon Strachan resigned. Ironically, he was approached by Portsmouth, Southampton's bitterest rivals, after Strachan refused to go to Fratton Park.

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