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Former Reading boss Coppell ready for return

Steve Coppell is ready to make a comeback in football management, and that news will alert a number of clubs who are already on the point of reviewing their present coaching setups.

Coppell walked away from Reading to take a sabbatical and sources close to the former England and Manchester United star tell me that he wanted to follow his son playing golf in America. However, he is now ready to return.

My source revealed to ESPN Soccernet: "Steve wanted to help support his son who is a trainee professional golfer, who was taking part in a series of tournaments in major University States. Steve is now back and eager to take up his career in management again.

"He made it plain at the time that he had no intention of retirement, and that is reinforced by his mood at the moment, that he is ready to get back into management."

Coppell's decision is sure to alert clubs like Portsmouth who are in a perilous state at the foot of the Premier League. Having survived in the Carling Cup at Carlisle, manager Paul Hart faces the make or break moment in his career in management against Everton this weekend.

Another defeat and Pompey could be seeking a new manager, with David O'Leary and Glenn Hoddle top of their expected wanted list if those circumstances should arise.

However Hoddle turned down a job with one of the top clubs in Holland only this week and has rejected 15 approaches since he initiated his Academy in Spain.

Hoddle would rule himself out of any likely managerial shortlist to be put forward to Pompey in the event that Hart should lose his job.

Hoddle told me from Spain: "I cannot see myself going into management while I am still involved with my Academy, it would not be feasible. I could have taken over a top club in Holland but had to say 'no' only this week, but there might, sometime in the future, be an opportunity for me to return to management, but that is not going to happen just yet."

That would leave O'Leary as the clear favourite, but news of Coppell's impending return to the game would also interest not only Pompey but a number of clubs.

•  Harry Harris has twice won the British Sports Journalist of the Year award. His book Down Memory Lane is now available.


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