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By ESPN Staff

Nugent: New Pompey boss must be a fighter

Portsmouth begin the search for their third manager of the season, with striker David Nugent warning whoever takes the post must be "up for the scrap'' of a relegation battle.

Following Tony Adams' dismissal a season which started with Pompey as FA Cup holders and Harry Redknapp looking to build a legacy at Fratton Park has descended into a desperate fight against the drop and a hasty search for a new coaching team.

Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant - previously technical director at Pompey - and Alan Curbishley appear to be involved in a two-horse race to succeed Adams, whose sacking was formalised at 9am yesterday.

Dutchman John Metgod has also left his position as first-team coach, with former Nottingham Forest boss Paul Hart moved from his role with the club's youth players to take the reins on a caretaker basis.

Nugent has warned whoever inherits them permanently about the size of the challenge at a club whose position is further complicated by the fact owner Alexandre Gaydamak is actively seeking a buyer.

Nugent, one of the few players whose prospects increased during Adams' tenure having been frozen out under Redknapp, insisted the former England captain deserved more patience.

But with the side only one point and two places above the bottom three and seemingly in freefall having developed the unwelcome habit of turning winning positions into defeats, time was not on Adams' side.

Speaking as he left the training ground, Nugent said: "He gave me a chance and I was happy for him to stay. I thought he deserved a few more games but it's the chairman's decision and we'll see who comes in next.

"There's 11 teams who could go down. We have to get a bit of stability at the club, get a few wins and get out of there.

"I don't have a clue about management but we need someone who can come in and is up for the scrap. The players are up for it so we just need someone who can come in and get a few wins.

"Paul has come in now and hopefully he'll settle the ship but whoever comes after him has a big job on their hands.''

Adams, meanwhile, admitted to frustration at being granted only a fraction of the handsome fees received for star players Jermain Defoe and Lassana Diarra in January.

Adams told BBC Radio Solent: "I am a little bit surprised but results haven't been good.

"I haven't had a lot of time and I certainly haven't had the financial backing.

"Before Christmas I was told about the situation and things changed, so whoever's driving the car, that's the situation.

"But we're in the results industry and obviously the owner and the chairman will point to that and that's their decision.

"I was certainly up for the challenge and I think I could have turned it around but it's not to be.''

The official club statement that accompanied the news of Adams' dismissal read: "This has been a very difficult decision and Tony has worked tirelessly to arrest the slump in form.

"We would like to thank him and John and wish them well in the future.

"The priority is for Portsmouth Football Club to remain in the top flight and we feel the appointment of a new manager will give us the best opportunity to enable us to do this.''


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