Deehan sacking sparks a row

Michael BaileyFormer Norwich City player and manager John Deehan said he would not change the decisions he made during Kettering's FA Cup defeat to Leeds on Tuesday, despite being sacked as assistant manager after the game.Michael Bailey

Former Norwich City player and manager John Deehan said he would not change the decisions he made during Kettering's FA Cup defeat to Leeds on Tuesday, despite being sacked as assistant manager after the game.

Deehan was dismissed by the non-league club after the Poppies lost 5-1 in extra time to the League One leaders. Defeat saw Kettering miss out on a third round tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

It is believed chairman Imran Ladaak was angered by Deehan's decision to introduce substitute Lee Fowler during extra time with the scores locked at 1-1. Leeds subsequently scored four times, but Deehan told Talksport yesterday: 'I would not change any of the decisions I made.

'There was a small window of opportunity for us for a five-minute spell after we scored, but we couldn't eke out the opportunity we needed and eventually we succumbed to Leeds' superior power.'


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Deehan had joined new Kettering player/manager Lee Harper at Rockingham Road last month. It was his first job since ending his latest spell with Norwich City as former boss Bryan Gunn's chief scout earlier in the season.

But what should have been a glorious night for Deehan, Harper and the rest of the Midlands club was overshadowed and the Poppies manager, who stepped into the job when Mark Cooper moved to Peterborough, threatened to stand by his assistant and follow Deehan out of the door.

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Harper said: 'There are some upset people and things have been said and that may mean I will be considering my future.

'Things have been said to my assistant manager that he is not to come back and that he is sacked. It's unjust. I want this opportunity but I am a very sad man.

'I understand it was down to substitutions but we only had three players on the bench who could have possibly gone on the pitch. Patrick Noubissie asked to come off because his legs had gone and John had no choice but to bring him off.

'I need this job but what has been said is not fair. I have mentioned to my players it might be the end for me and every single person in our dressing room has said they are beside me.

'The dust could settle but John knows the game inside out and I am not sure he would want to stay.

'I brought John Deehan in because I think he can help take Kettering forward. If he is not here then I don't think I can be.'

Deehan urged Harper not to make a hasty decision on his own future, however, adding: 'I want him to continue. He's got a young family and he's got a far bigger commitment to his wife and children than he has to me. I'm honoured that he picked me to help him and I'm disappointed it has finished this way.'

Ladaak said there was more to Deehan's departure than a dispute over substitutions: 'It's not just about the substitutions, there's been a whole host of things,' he said. 'John knows there have been issues and the substitution was one of several things.'

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