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Dec 9, 2009

Kettering boss threatens exodus after sacking

Kettering player-manager Lee Harper has revealed he could be ready to walk out on the club along with the players after his assistant was sacked immediately after an FA Cup tie due to his substitutions.

Kettering took League One leaders Leeds to extra-time in their second round replay at Elland Road on Tuesday night but, after assistant manager John Deehan made two changes following the 90 minutes, the Conference side ended up losing 5-1.

Deehan was dismissed after the final whistle and Harper, who was playing at the time and delegated responsibility for substitutions to his assistant, says he and the players could now be ready to leave Rockingham Road.

"I don't want to walk out on anybody, but I have to stick by my assistant who has been sacked," he told BBC Radio Northampton. "I don't think it was just.

"Every player says they stand by me so I don't know if there are going to be any players either."

Harper admits he may be forced to abandon his principles due to financial reasons, however.

"Maybe I should let things cool down but if he's been told he's been sacked for the substitutions that he made when we only had three players who could possibly come on the pitch then I'm shell-shocked," Harper said. "I'm gutted about the result but I need the job, I need the money and the chairman's looked after me in terms of that.

"But I'm a man of principle as well. John's a football man and he knows what he is doing and he got us that result - he got us to 1-1. I've been in the game for getting on 20 years; John Deehan has been in the game for longer. We are football people and we need to be left to run the team and do what we think is right."

Deehan has previously worked at Sheffield United, Aston Villa, Northampton Town, Lincoln City and Bolton Wanderers as well as managing Wigan and Norwich.

Kettering have announced that on Wednesday the chairman will field questions from supporters about the events following the match.

An official statement read: "In view of the reported after-match events last night and the concern of many supporters after the announcement of the departure of John Deehan, chairman Imraan Ladak is inviting questions from supporters, which he will answer on a broadcast to supporters later today."

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