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Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Harper named new Kettering boss

Lee Harper
Harper joined Kettering from MK Dons in June 2008

Blue Square Premier side Kettering Town have appointed goalkeeper Lee Harper as their new player-manager, initially until the end of the season.

Harper, 38, replaces Mark Cooper, who left the Poppies on Saturday to take over at Peterborough United.

"We have known for some time that Lee would be a future manager of Kettering Town," said chairman Imraan Ladak.

"Lee is the outstanding choice to continue the incredible progress we made with Mark Cooper."

Harper began his career with non-league Sittingbourne before moving to Arsenal in 1994.

His understanding and knowledge of our club and players give him an advantage which no externally appointed manager could ever match

Imraan Ladak

After making one appearance for the Gunners, he moved to QPR in 1997 and went on to play in 132 games for Rangers.

A short spell at Walsall preceded a four-and-a-half year stay at Northampton Town, with Harper appearing 182 times for the Cobblers.

After leaving Sixfields for MK Dons, he joined Kettering in June 2008 and signed a new contract at Rockingham Road this July.

"Lee has been a major part of our achievements on and off the field, and is hugely respected by the club's players, officials and supporters," added Ladak.

"He's worked under a host of outstanding managers - including George Graham, Arsene Wenger, Gerry Francis and Colin Calderwood, as well as Mark Cooper.

"His understanding and knowledge of our club and players, at such an important time for us, give him an advantage which no externally appointed manager could ever match."

Ladak confirmed that the club have begun shortlisting candidates for the role of Harper's assistant and expect to make an appointment by no later than Thursday.

Emlyn Begley - BBC Sport

Kettering currently lie third in the Blue Square Premier, five points behind leaders Oxford United.

"The club has worked very hard to get to the position we are in and, despite the departures of Mark and Nicky Eaden [Cooper's assistant], strongly believes we need to maintain as much stability as possible," said Ladak.

"I am sure every Poppies supporter will join me in wishing our outgoing and incoming managers the very best for the future as they both deserve our eternal support."

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see also
Cooper confirmed as Posh manager
14 Nov 09 |  Peterborough
Posh confirm Ferguson departure
12 Jan 11 |  Peterborough
Harper to remain with the Poppies
09 Jul 09 |  Kettering

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