On this day: Sheffield United boss favourite to replace Alain Perrin at Portsmouth

Former Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock
Former Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock
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On this day in 2005. Neil Warnock emerged as the number-one candidate to take over at Pompey – if Alain Perrin failed to improve results.

At the time, chairman Milan Mandaric had continued to back Perrin, despite just four wins from 20 games in charge.

But it is understood a contingency plan had been discussed – with then Sheffield United boss Warnock the favourite in the Fratton boardroom.

Looking back, Pompey fans were sceptical the Blues could lure Warnock away from Bramall Lane, with his side top of the Championship.

But Warnock’s future was itself unclear, with Sheffield United stalling on extending his contract beyond the end of the season.

Warnock is understood to have told close friends the Pompey job would interest him.

The 56-year-old was stunned by the Blues’ support when he brought United to Fratton in 2003.

He was equally impressed by the way Pompey fans kept cheering their side in the closing stages of the 2-0 defeat to Wigan in their last outing.

Speaking to The News at the time, Mandaric said: ‘Alain is a really good man, very classy, excellent in preparation, but he has to get the best out of the players on the day.

‘Maybe it is a matter of language, of motivation, like some English managers find, such as Neil Warnock at Sheffield United.

‘It’s time for street fighters not professors.’

Warnock had been heavily linked with the Pompey job in Yorkshire but he told The News: ‘I’m not commenting about jobs other people are in.’

He was more candid about his situation at Bramall Lane, however. He said: ‘There are no two ways about it, it’s make-or-break for me this season.

‘When I was told failure to win promotion would probably cost me my job, I wasn’t shocked.

‘Even now, some supporters are waiting for me to slip up. And if that happens I know demonstrations will follow.

‘They will smash a few windows in the car park, spray graffiti on the walls and abuse me in the dug-out.

‘If we’d failed to hit the ground running in the first 10 games of the campaign, I would have been sacked.’

A source close to Warnock said: ‘The situation frustrates Neil. He could be forced to walk away if the board do not give him a new deal.’