Allen emerges as Pompey managerial contender

Martin Allen
Martin Allen
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  • Pompey wary of potential lengthy time-frame over boss appointment
  • Allen has won two promotions and reach the play-offs three times
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Martin Allen has emerged as a serious contender to rival Paul Cook for the vacant Pompey job.

The News understands the Barnet head coach has moved into the thoughts of the Blues’ board as they seek a replacement for Andy Awford.

And with a reputation for promotion and play-off qualification, Allen is a tempting alternative.

Cook was the first boss approached following last Thursday’s Fratton Park board meeting and remains the number once choice.

However, the Blues’ pursuit of the Chesterfield boss is a complex one.

Considering the League One side’s play-off qualification and with the 48-year-old under contract until 2017, there are concerns the situation could drag on.

In addition, compensation in the region of £150,000 would be required to activate a buy-out clause.

On the other hand, Allen’s deal with Barnet expires after the weekend.

Fresh from last Saturday steering his side back into the Football League, his availability appeals.

In addition, Pompey caretaker boss Gary Waddock was Allen’s Bees coach earlier in the campaign.

But the onus is now on Cook to help engineer his Spireite exit from his end – if that is what he wishes.

In the meantime, Allen has stepped forward after clinching the Vanarama Conference title with 92 points and 94 goals.

It was the second title success of his career, and he is presently keeping his options open before committing to any new deal at The Hive Stadium.

With Pompey desperate to clamber out of League Two following effectively two wasted seasons, the 49-year-old’s CV does catch the eye.

The ex-West Ham United midfielder twice reached the play-offs at Brentford and once with MK Dons, although failed to win.

In 2012-13 Allen took Gillingham to the League Two title, achieving the first promotion of his career.

He couldn’t prevent Barnet tumbling out of the Football League following his appointment in March 2014, but has since taken them back up.

The Bees’ title-winning squad includes ex-Pompey players John Akinde, Bondz N’Gala and Conor Clifford, with Akinde netting 32 goals in all competitions this term.

Regarded as a tough manager, Allen is also seen by the board as somebody to invigorate the Blues’ under-achieving squad.

Of course, as a player he made 46 appearances and scored four goals for Pompey before retiring, going on to serve as reserve-team coach.

Regardless, the key to any potential Allen return will rest on Cook’s availability.

Meanwhile, Pompey’s reserves yesterday ended their campaign with a 3-2 win at Cambridge United, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tom Craddock and Brandon Joseph-Buadi netting.