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Thursday 18 September 2014

Mackay poised for Crystal Palace job and £25m spree

Prospective new manager will chase a striker, winger, central midfielder and left-back after beating Tim Sherwood to the top job.

Matt Law

Published 20/08/2014 | 07:31

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

Malky Mackay is poised to be given just under two weeks to complete a £25 m transfer-window trolley dash as the new manager at Crystal Palace.

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He is expected to sign a three‑year contract to take over from Tony Pulis at Palace and will target at least four new players before the transfer window shuts at the end of this month.

Mackay jumped ahead of Tim Sherwood in the race to become the Palace manager and the club are close to sealing his appointment.

Palace will make £25m available to Mackay, but that figure must incorporate transfer fees and wages. The Scotsman will also be able to spend any money he can bring in to try to maintain the club’s Premier League status.

Mackay agrees with Palace’s existing plan to sign a new striker, winger, central midfielder and left-back. But any move for the Sunderland forward, Connor Wickham, is likely to fail, with the Black Cats reluctant to sell and the player unlikely to push for a move to Selhurst Park.

That could encourage Mackay to try to raid one of his former clubs, Watford, for the in-demand Troy Deeney. Mackay signed the 26-year-old for the Hornets from Walsall in 2010 and he has scored 62 goals in 179 appearances, including 24 in the Championship last season.

Mackay’s expected appointment may well be good news for Dwight Gayle, who he tried to sign for Cardiff City and rates highly, while the 42-year-old worked successfully with Fraizer Campbell in Wales.

The Southampton midfielder Jack Cork is high on Palace’s wanted list with Mackay and the club’s head of recruitment, Iain Moody, preparing to work closely together on transfers for the third time after previously linking up at Cardiff and Watford.

Any new signings that Mackay makes will have to fall within the Palace wage structure that was a major cause of frustration for Pulis and eventually became one of the reasons he left just 36 hours before the first game of the season.

Mackay’s links with Moody clearly helped his case moving into pole position for the Palace post ahead of Sherwood, the former Tottenham head coach, who wanted to appoint his own coaching staff of Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey.

It was also unclear whether Sherwood would be willing to work effectively with Moody who, along with the caretaker-manager, Keith Millen, and the first-team coach, Ben Garner, remains vital to the set-up at Palace.

Mackay has been out of work since leaving Cardiff in December, but has received and turned down offers from West Bromwich Albion, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Brighton and Hove Albion.

His first game in charge is on course to be against his former club West Ham United at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Mackay was last season linked with the Hammers job when Sam Allardyce was under pressure.

Palace have so far made only three senior additions to their squad this summer, having signed Campbell, Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly.

Hangeland has admitted that one of the main reasons he joined Palace was to play for Pulis, but the former Fulham central defender insisted that he did not have any regrets over the move.

Hangeland scored on his debut against Arsenal, as Palace lost narrowly 2-1, and the 33-year-old believes there was plenty to be optimistic about in the performance.

“I have only been here a few weeks and the last few days have been a bit of a roller-coaster,” Hangeland said. “Tony Pulis is a great manager and is one of the reasons I joined but having come here I can see there are a lot of good things about the club.

“Tony Pulis was a massive factor behind the success of Crystal Palace. There was a bit of a shock around the place but it has happened and we have to move on. I am pleased to be here and, if we play like we did against Arsenal at the weekend, we will be successful.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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