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Thursday 18 September 2014

Mackay front-runner for Palace job

Published 19/08/2014 | 23:01

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Malky Mackay is the hot favourite to take over at Crystal Palace

Malky Mackay is expected to beat Tim Sherwood to the vacant Crystal Palace job.

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The former Cardiff boss is now the clear front-runner to succeed Tony Pulis at the south London club, but Palace have remained tight-lipped on the situation.

Selhurst Park bosses are believed to be close to finalising a three-year contract for Mackay, with bookmakers suspending bets on his appointment.

Former Tottenham bosses Sherwood and Martin Jol had been under serious consideration by the Palace board, but Mackay's close relationship with sporting director Iain Moody should tip the balance in his favour.

The duo worked in tandem at Cardiff, before Mackay was sacked in December.

Former Watford manager Mackay could be in place to lead Palace in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with one of his former clubs, West Ham.

Pulis walked out on Palace on the eve of the league season after reported disagreements with co-chairman Steve Parish over transfer strategy.

The ex-Stoke boss landed the manager of the year award for steering the Eagles from the depths of a relegation battle to an impressive 11th-place finish last term.

His forthright style clashed with Parish and Moody across pre-season, leading to his departure.

Now Palace look prepared to reunite Mackay and Moody, while also retaining the remainder of the backroom staff that worked under Pulis.

Sherwood had been understood to favour a reshuffle of the behind-the-scenes coaching roster, while Palace are aiming to keep what semblance of continuity possible in the wake of Pulis' surprise exit.

Tony Popovic on Tuesday downplayed speculation linking him to the vacant post, insisting his former club had not been in contact.

The 41-year-old former Australia international has strong ties with the Eagles, having played for the club for five seasons before returning in 2011 as part of Dougie Freedman's backroom set-up.

Popovic is now manager of Western Sydney Wanderers and, despite having been as short as 6/1 with one bookmakers to replace Pulis, insisted talk of taking charge at Selhurst Park was wide of the mark.

"No there's been no conversations with anyone in regards to that and it's not for us to speak about speculation," Popovic said.

"If there was something happening we'd certainly speak to you about it.

"I'm very fond of that club. I have great memories and history there and many friends I have there.

"I wish them the best in whoever they choose as a manager."

Palace have signed just Fraizer Campbell, Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly so far during the transfer window, with the board intent on adding at least three more recruits.

Caretaker coach Keith Millen assumed control for Palace's opening league fixture, the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal.

Press Association

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