Portsmouth promotion rivals hire ex Leeds United manager in statement of intent

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The play-off contenders have appointed a new boss who spent time on the touchline in the Premier League last season.

Portsmouth's League One promotion rivals Lincoln City have appointed former Leeds United under-21 boss Michael Skubala as head coach.

The ex Whites man takes over from Mark Kennedy, who left the club last month, and takes his first managerial role in senior football. Skubala has worked in coaching roles for 20 years and stepped into the limelight last season when he took charge of the Leeds United first team for three games last term after Jesse Marsch was sacked.

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Lincoln City currently sit ninth in the third division, just four points off the play-off places and Skubala arrives at a side which is winless in three, drawing two and losing one.

The 41-year-old's first match in charge will be away to Stevenage on Saturday in one of the two league fixtures taking place this weekend during the international break. Portsmouth will meet The Imps on New Year's Day at Fratton Park, having drawn 0-0 in August at a meeting that saw a player from both sides see red.

Speaking to the club after his appointment, Skubala said: "It feels great to be here, it has been a really warm welcome and I'm looking forward to getting going. I've been here for a couple of games in the past few weeks and I've seen how important the fans are for the young players and how they can push the team.

"I'm really excited to work hard with the players every day, to meet the fans and be part of Lincoln City. I feel something here that I felt when I moved to Leeds, which is how important the supporters can be to the club."

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Skubala has brief Premier League managerial experience (Image: Getty Images)Skubala has brief Premier League managerial experience (Image: Getty Images)
Skubala has brief Premier League managerial experience (Image: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Lincoln City chairman Clive Nates labelled the appointment as 'progressive' as the club confirmed that further additions to the coaching team would be made in due course.

Mr Nates said: "We have been tracking Michael for some time as he is one of the most exciting young coaches in the game right now, and had a robust recruitment process to ensure he was the right person for us at this time. We had a global list of 15 coaches we thought would be a good fit, and Michael impressed as we went through the interviews. The warm wishes from Leeds United show how respected and popular he was there.

"We see this as a progressive appointment - Michael shares our ethos on player development, style of play and ambition. He has a clear vision for how he implements this and a track record of developing talented young players."

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