Kevin Nancekivell pays tribute to former Plymouth Argyle boss
KEVIN NANCEKIVELL has tipped former Argyle boss Carl Fletcher to make a successful return to management after taking a break from football.
Nancekivell, the Pilgrims' first team coach, has a high regard for the abilities of Fletcher, who was sacked by the struggling League Two club on New Year's Day, following the 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers.
Fletcher, 32, has raised the possibility of coming out of retirement as a player after his dismissal by Argyle.
It is 14 months since Fletcher's last competitive game, in the 2-0 defeat by part-timers Stourbridge in a FA Cup first round replay in November 2011.
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Nancekivell does not doubt Fletcher, twice Argyle's player-of-the-year, could still produce the goods on the pitch, but does see his long-term future as being in management.
He told Herald Sport: "He's more than good enough (to return to playing) and he's still young enough.
"But I think he's a manager and he will bounce back again.
"Once he has had a little breather and recharged the batteries, and spent some quality time with his lovely family, then he will get the manager's bug again.
"He will get work. He's too good at what he does."
Fletcher was appointed as Argyle manager, initially in a caretaker capacity, in September 2011 after the firing of Peter Reid.
He led the Pilgrims to Football League survival last season, despite them having picked up only one point from their first nine games before taking over.
However, recent results have seen Argyle slip to 21st position in League Two, and the threat of relegation is looming large again.
Nancekivell and assistant manager Romain Larrieu have taken temporary charge of first team affairs.
"Carl is a good close friend of ours and he's a top young manager so we were upset to see him go," said Nancekivell.
Larrieu added: "We were asked to take care of the team just over a year ago and really gave it as good as we have got.
"We felt we were not far away, but we understand that results have not been going our way. Obviously, I'm upset about Carl but I know he will bounce back."
Fletcher revealed he had been sacked by Argyle during a post-match Press conference after the defeat by Bristol Rovers.
He insisted on facing up to the media, even though his emotions were understandably raw, and carried out the interview with tremendous courage and dignity.
Nancekivell said: "That sums him up completely. To come into the changing room and look everybody in the eye and shake their hands when he was clearly upset takes some doing."
Larrieu added: "He handled himself so well. Now he has gone and we have been asked to take care of the team."
Nancekivell admitted it was difficult for him and Larrieu to assume responsibility for first team matters in such circumstances.
"We worked very closely as a three of us and, all of a sudden, one of us has gone," said Nancekivell.
"It's strange, and it's strange in the office, but we have got a job to do. The chairman (James Brent) has asked us to look after matters on a day-to-day basis until we are told different, and that's what we will do.
"The club pays our wages and we will make sure we go to Port Vale (tomorrow) well prepared to get a result."
The Argyle squad met up for the first time yesterday after the sacking of Fletcher as they trained in advance of the trip to Port Vale.
Larrieu said: "They are professionals – it's in their job title. They have just got to forget the past.
"It will happen to them again in their careers. It has happened to me. It's not a nice moment when you see a manager go but what do you do?
"You can't feel sorry for yourself. You have got to get up and fight because our position in the league needs sorting out."