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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 17:19 GMT
Mandaric admires Warnock passion
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric has revealed why Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock is a top target to succeed Alain Perrin at Fratton Park.

Mandaric is set to hold talks with the 57-year-old after being given permission by the Yorkshire club.

He told BBC Sport: "Neil's got a tremendous enthusiasm, commitment to the game of football and a great knowledge of all aspects of football.

"And I think Neil has a bursting desire to succeed in the game."

Mandaric admitted he is still keen to speak to other managerial targets, but has so far been rebuffed in moves for Rangers' boss Alex McLeish and Crystal Palace's Iain Dowie.

He may be prepared to play a waiting game for McLeish, who has only been given a brief stay of execution by Rangers' chairman David Murray as the Ibrox giants struggle in the Scottish Premier League.

Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric
Mandaric has a list of managerial targets

Mandaric has also refused to rule out a move for former boss Harry Redknapp, now at Southampton, but Warnock has emerged as the main contender after being lined up for talks.

It is the first big breakthrough for Mandaric in his bid to find the man who can lead Portsmouth out of trouble in the Premiership.

The Pompey chairman said: "We are hoping to meet soon. We are optimistic, but there is a long way to go. We are not there yet.

"I'd also still like to talk to two or three other candidates as well. There is not a first and only choice because I want to make sure I get the right man for Portsmouth who will improve us."

He added: "I'd like to speak to other people, find out what I need to know from these interviews about who would be best for us.

"I'd like to get a feel for things and only then could I really say who my top choice was, but obviously it is a breakthrough for us to be given permission to speak to Neil."

Mandaric is scheduled to attend the funeral of George Best in Belfast on Saturday, so it is likely any appointment will be put on hold until early next week - which may yet give McLeish time to enter the equation.

Blades claim Warnock is tied up
17 Nov 05 |  Sheff Utd
Blades insist Warnock is staying
09 Nov 05 |  Portsmouth
Warnock happy to delay deal talks
08 Oct 05 |  Sheff Utd


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