Sven Goran Eriksson has once again told Portsmouth that he wants to continue as Mexico manager and is not interested in leaving the job unless he is pushed.
Portsmouth are much less confident of persuading the Swede to join them after he once again received the private support of the Mexican football federation (FMF) over the weekend.
Eriksson has been the favoured choice of chief executive Peter Storrie to succeed Tony Adams but Eriksson's unwillingness to leave Mexico, regardless of his bad start to their 2010 World Cup qualification campaign, has meant that Pompey will continue with caretaker manager Paul Hart and assistant Brian Kidd, who won their first game in charge against Manchester City on Saturday.
The club are understood not to be taking seriously the proposed takeover bid from former Tottenham Hotspur defender Ramon Vega. Vega, who captained Switzerland during his playing career, was thought to be heading a consortium interested in buying the club from Russian owner Sacha Gaydamak. While Portsmouth are confident finding a buyer, they think it is more likely to happen in the summer.
Eriksson has indicated that he is prepared to stay for as long as the FMF want him and there was support from his employer Justino Compean, FMF president, after last week's defeat to the United States. The Swede, whose side have only played one of their final round qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals, has said that he wants to see out his contract.
With that in mind, Portsmouth are minded to turn to Avram Grant. The former Chelsea manager has the support of Gaydamak although he is prepared to be guided by Storrie for now. As he tried to convey during his appearance on Sky Sports on Sunday, Grant is keen to demonstrate that he is not desperate for the job although there is little doubt that he would take it should it be offered.
In the meantime, Hart and Kidd have made a big impact already. They have been credited with sorting out the organisation of the Pompey defence, which had become chaotic under Adams. They have also mended some of the spirit within the club, insisting the players stay together at a hotel before the game with Manchester City. A pre-match quiz on Friday night was regarded as an old-school but welcome distraction.
Hart said again yesterday that he was not convinced he would still be in place much beyond the visit to Stoke City on Saturday. "We're planning for next week, and we'll see what happens," Hart said. "After the game you can say that is a job well done. But it isn't just me and Brian who have worked hard this week, there's [coaches] Paul Groves, Guy Whittingham, Ian Woan and Dave Coles – we have all stuck in there."