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Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Lee Harper considers future as Kettering manager

Kettering manager Lee Harper
Harper was appointed Kettering boss after Mark Cooper joined Peterborough

Kettering player-manager Lee Harper is considering his future after assistant John Deehan was sacked following the club's 5-1 FA Cup defeat at Leeds.

The goalkeeper, who only became manager last month, said that Deehan was axed for the substitutions he made during extra time of the second round replay.

Harper told BBC Radio Northampton: "I don't want to walk out on anybody.

"But I have to stick by my assistant who has been sacked. I don't think it was just," the 38-year-old added.

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

Kettering trailed 1-0 at half-time but forced extra-time thanks to Anthony Elding's second-half equaliser.

Harper played the entire 120 minutes against Leeds at Elland Road, leaving his assistant to make tactical changes from the bench.

Deehan's third change was to bring on Lee Fowler for Patrick Noubissie in the 106th minute, just two minutes before Leeds scored the first of four goals in 11 minutes.

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

Kettering player-manager Lee Harper

But Harper said that Deehan deserved the credit for helping to get Kettering back into the game and pushing the League One leaders so hard, before eventually crumbling during the second half of extra-time.

"Maybe I should let things cool down," said Harper. "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.

"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."

Harper, who joined Kettering as a player in 2008, took over as manager just over three weeks ago after Mark Cooper left for Championship side Peterborough.

One of his first actions was to bring former Norwich and Wigan boss Deehan in as his assistant.

Deehan, 52, has also been on the backroom staff of Sheffield United, Aston Villa, Northampton Town, Lincoln City, Bolton Wanderers and Norwich City in various roles since leaving Wigan in 1998.

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see also
Leeds 5-1 Kettering
08 Dec 09 |  FA Cup
Kettering boss defends selection
07 Dec 09 |  Kettering
Harper named new Kettering boss
16 Nov 09 |  Kettering

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