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Page last updated at 08:16 GMT, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 09:16 UK

Newport County would clear Dean Holdsworth for Swansea

Dean Holdsworth
Dean Holdsworth is a former big-name Premier League striker

Swansea City have been told they will not be blocked if they want to speak to Newport County boss Dean Holdsworth about their vacant managerial position.

Sheffield United have blocked Swansea's attempts to talk to their top target Gary Speed, ex-Wales captain and Blades coach, about succeeding Paulo Sousa.

Hamilton Academical boss Billy Reid has also rejected a Swans approach.

The Swans are struggling to lure their preferred choices so Holdsworth, linked to the post, could become an option.

"If another club comes in, it is anticipated we would want to hear what they had to say," County chairman Chris Blight confirmed to BBC Sport.

"I take the situation with Gary Speed, Sheffield gave a carte blanche no to Swansea that they could not talk to him - that would not be our approach to it."

Former Premier League striker Holdsworth would certainly fit Championship club Swansea's managerial criteria as he is a young, ambitious boss who can work on a financial shoestring and plays an attractive style of football.

The 41-year-old inspired record-breaking County to last season's Blue Square South title - and subsequent promotion to the Conference - winning the league by 28 points and notching up 103 points.

Former Swansea assistant manager Graeme Jones is now favourite to replace Sousa at the Liberty Stadium hotseat now Swansea's need for Speed seems to be an impossible mission after he flew off to Sheffield United's pre-season trip to Malta.

Dean is really loyal to his players. So I don't think he would turn around to them and just simply walk away from the club, just like that, having made so many promises

Newport County chairman Chris Blight

Jones, the apparent favoured option among Swansea players and some members of their board, followed former Swans boss Roberto Martinez to Wigan Athletic last summer when the Spaniard took him to be his right-hand man to the Premier League.

Promising young League One managers Paul Tisdale, the man that guided Exeter City to back-to-back promotions, and Gus Poyet of Brighton and Hove Albion have both dismissed interest despite being in a lower league.

Former West Ham United supremo Gianfranco Zola and ex Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate have distanced themselves from the Swans post while Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins, who started his coaching career in Wales at Welsh Premier Bangor City, has also been linked.

But Swansea, becoming increasingly frustrated in their search for a new boss, have admired Holdsworth's achievements at nearby Newport and has emerged an a potential contender to replace Sousa as the Swans move down their managerial shortlist.

County confirmed they have had no official approach for their manager of two years by their Welsh rivals but admitted they would not stand in his way should Holdsworth wish to answer Swansea's SOS call.

Chairman Blight confirmed Newport would demand financial compensation should the Swans wish to prize Holdsworth away just weeks after he signed a two-year contract extension at Spytty Park.

"Dean is a contracted member of our staff and as far as we are concerned he is staying with us," said Blight.

"He obviously wants to climb to higher heights whether it is with us or with someone else

"I know Huw Jenkins, the Swansea chairman, well and if there was an interest he would pick up the telephone but that hasn't happened thus far.

"I'm proud that Dean has been linked to the Swansea job. He came to us as a bit of a rookie and we took a gamble.

"Although the first season didn't bear much fruit, it clearly sewed the seed as we won the league last season at a canter.

"It is quite a tick in our box if a Championship club was looking at our manager. But there is quite a difference between the Blue Square South and the Championship.


"I would be a liar if I said anything else other than we'd be disappointed if we were to lose Dean - although these things do happen in football.

"But Dean has said to his players 'I want you here to do a job for me' and Dean is really loyal to his players.

"So I don't think he would turn around to them and just simply walk away from the club, just like that, having made so many promises to the players he has brought here - especially those new signings this summer."

Holdsworth, a former England B international, replaced Peter Beadle as County boss in May 2008 after a brief stint at Ryman League club Redbridge to return to Newport where he had spent three months as a player in 2007.

The Londoner enjoyed 11 years as a high-profile Premier League striker with both Wimbledon and Bolton Wanderers and now hopes to return to the top-flight as a manger after quitting playing in 2007.

Holdsworth knows the non-league market - football's bargain basement - well as he founded the non-league football players association.

That would be an attraction to frugal Swansea whose two signings this summer, full-back Neil Taylor and midfielder Scott Donnelly, are non-league graduates.

And Swansea's current board has a history of grooming promising young managers, such as Martinez and Sousa, and allowing them to leave for a healthy compensation fee.

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see also
Swansea fail in second Speed bid
12 Jul 10 |  Swansea
Sousa confirmed as Leicester boss
07 Jul 10 |  Leicester
Who next for Swansea hot seat?
05 Jul 10 |  Swansea
Sousa departs as Swansea manager
05 Jul 10 |  Swansea
Holdsworth signs new Newport deal
12 Jun 10 |  Newport County
Ton-up County break league record
17 Apr 10 |  Non League
Holdsworth coy on County future
16 Mar 10 |  Non League
Holdsworth takes on Newport job
18 May 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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