Allen cautious on Pompey job

Former Gillingham boss Martin Allen
Former Gillingham boss Martin Allen

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Martin Allen has reacted with caution after being installed as hot favourite to become the next Pompey boss in the wake of Guy Whittingham’s shock dismissal.

The former Blues midfielder spent three years at Fratton Park between 1995-97, led Gillingham to League Two promotion as champions last season, and was in the crowd to see Pompey beaten by Scunthorpe in Whittingham’s final game in charge.

The under-pressure Whittingham had his 12-month rolling contract terminated yesterday, shortly after holding his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s home clash with Southend.

Andy Awford was placed in caretaker charge and will be assisted by Alan McLoughlin and David Connolly for the League Two clash.

But Allen’s name was quickly placed at the top of the betting markets.

And he has been mentioned by Pompey fans as a potential new manager.

While the 48-year-old played down the link, he confirmed he was keen to get back into management after he was sacked by the Gills last month.

Allen told The News: ‘Guy is a really good bloke. He has done a great job for Portsmouth Football Club so, in my mind, it’s too early for anybody to talk about replacing him.

‘He’s a legend at the club and always will be.

‘I wouldn’t want to talk about the job out of respect for Guy so I’ve got nothing to say on that at the moment.

‘I was at the game on Saturday because Scunthorpe need a manager, so I thought I would come and watch them play. That’s why I was at Fratton Park.

‘But I am looking to get back into the game – yes, I am.

‘We won the league last season by four points with a team of free transfers so I suppose my name would come up.’

Another potential candidate seen by fans as an ideal choice, Neil Warnock, is also a short-priced contender but laughed off his own chances of taking the position.

The experienced manager has voiced his attraction to the Pompey job in the past but had also recently claimed his management days were behind him and is now working in the media.

However, he did not rule out the possibility.

Warnock said: ‘I’m not sure my wife would approve. But you never know.’

Other names potentially in the frame are three former managers of the club, with Michael Appleton, Steve Cotterill and Steve Claridge all mentioned.

The board may also look for some degree of continuity, with Awford in caretaker charge for at least the next two games, while McLoughlin and Connolly have also been suggested as possible options from within the club.

While the board will be keen to appoint the right person, the tight financial budget is certain to play a key part in their thinking as they seek to name a successor.