Next Crystal Palace manager: The contenders

Mick McCarthy
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you the five men that are reportedly in contention to replace Dougie Freedman at Crystal Palace.

Championship side Crystal Palace yesterday confirmed that manager Dougie Freedman had decided to leave the club and link up with league rivals Bolton Wanderers.

While there has been no official confirmation from Bolton, reports today have claimed that Palace have already begun their search for a new boss.

With that in mind, Sports Mole has compiled a list of five men who are considered to be the early leading contenders to fill the void left by Freedman at Selhurst Park.

Mick McCarthy

There are very few jobs that McCarthy has not been linked with in recent months. Having left Wolverhampton Wanderers in February of this year, the 53-year-old is now said to be eager to return to management. He has recently been touted to take the jobs at Blackburn Rovers, Burnley and Bolton. Having been beaten to the Bolton role by Freedman, the former Republic of Ireland head coach could well be keen to take over from the Scot.

Odds: 6/4

Steve Coppell

The departing Freedman is considered by many to be a Palace legend. However, 57-year-old Coppell is looked upon even more favourably by the Palace faithful. He has had four previous spells in charge of the club and during one of those he guided them to the 1990 FA Cup final, where they lost to Manchester United 1-0 in a replay. Coppell has forged himself a reputation as a manager who gives youngsters a chance and with players like Wilfried Zaha at the club, a fifth stint could appeal to the current Crawley Town director of football.

Odds: 15/8

Lennie Lawrence

As so often when a manager departs a club, his assistant is linked with filling his shoes. Lawrence is slightly different to most other assistants though, as he possesses a vast managerial experience that stretches all the way back to 1978 when he took caretaker charge of Plymouth Argyle. He's currently looking after first-team matters while the search for a new manager begins.

Odds: 8/1

Gareth Southgate

Southgate, 42, has been out of the management game since he left Middlesbrough in 2009. Since then he has become the Football Association's head of elite development. Despite only being in the role a matter of months, speculation has suggested that he would consider a return to club football. The former England international would also be a favourite with the supporters, having made over 150 appearances for Palace during a seven-year stint up until 1995.

Odds: 12/1

Mark Bright

Like Southgate, 50-year-old Bright is a former Palace player who represented the club with such distinction. He was part of the team that reached the FA Cup final under Coppell's guidance. Having not held a job in management before, appointing the BBC Sport pundit is likely to be seen as a gamble. However, there is potential for the ex-striker to perhaps form a partnership with the experienced Coppell.

Odds: 16/1

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