Next Crystal Palace manager: Five contenders

Sports Mole assesses five of the early candidates to replace Ian Holloway as manager of Crystal Palace.

Despite guiding them to promotion last season, Crystal Palace have already made the decision to part ways with boss Ian Holloway after just a year in charge of the club.

Holloway had witnessed the Eagles defeat Watford in the playoff final in May, but after opening this campaign with just one victory in eight Premier League fixtures, the 50-year-old has departed by mutual consent.

Sports Mole has picked out five managers that could be in the running for the vacant position at Selhurst Park.

Stoke City Manager Tony Pulis prior to kick-off during the match against Southampton on May 19, 2013© Getty Images
1. Tony Pulis

Despite the role being available for less than 24 hours, Tony Pulis has already emerged as the outstanding candidate for the vacant position.

The former Stoke City boss has been without a job since leaving the Britannia Stadium at the end of last season after seven years with the Potters.

During that time, the 55-year-old oversaw the club's promotion to the Premier League, before establishing them in the top flight and qualifying for the Europa League after reaching the FA Cup final in 2011.

Palace chairman Steve Parish has already revealed that he wishes to contact Pulis, and if the Welshman reciprocates his interest, a deal between the two could be swiftly agreed.

Odds: 8/13

Leeds manager Neil Warnock looks on prior to the npower Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at Pride Park on December 8, 2012© Getty Images
2. Neil Warnock

It is something of a surprise that Neil Warnock has been named as one of the leading contenders for the job, but he could prove a popular choice with Palace fans after previously managing the club.

Warnock spent three years at Selhurst Park between 2007 and 2010, helping the Eagles to the playoff semi-finals, before departing the club during a troubled period when they also went into administration.

Despite their financial trouble, the former Sheffield United man achieved a respectable record, and became a popular figure with supporters after Palace performed on the pitch against the odds.

Warnock failed in his last job with Leeds United, but after it was reported that he has been contacted by Parish, the former Elland Road chief is reportedly under consideration for the position.

Odds: 20/1

Sunderland's Martin O'Neill prior to kick off in the match against Norwich on March 17, 2013© Getty Images
3. Martin O'Neill

Ever since his departure from Sunderland earlier this year, Martin O'Neill has become one of the most high-profile names on the market.

He was strongly linked with the Republic of Ireland position after the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni, but he has seemingly been overtaken in the running by Ipswich Town's Mick McCarthy.

The former Celtic and Aston Villa chief possesses a strong interest in that role, but if contacted by Palace, O'Neill could be tempted by a return to club management.

However, it is also possible that O'Neill could hold out for an opportunity with a bigger club, with Chris Hughton and Malky Mackay possibly being under the threat of losing their jobs at Norwich City and Cardiff City respectively.

Odds: 25/1

Wales national team manager Chris Coleman looks on during the International Friendly match between Wales v Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on August 14, 2013© Getty Images
4. Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman has not managed in the Premier League since 2007, but the former Wales defender deserves to be considered for a return to his former club.

The 43-year-old made 200 appearances for Palace during his playing career, while he has four years of managerial experience with Fulham, before trying his luck with Real Sociedad, Coventry City and Larissa.

Coleman is currently overseeing matters with the Wales national team, but despite a couple of impressive results recently, he has yet to sign a new deal.

It's likely that Coleman will pen an extended contract with Wales, but with no compensation required, Palace could target the Welsh boss if they fail to attract Pulis or Warnock to Selhurst Park.

Odds: 25/1

Forest manager Alex McLeish during the match against Derby on January 19, 2013© Getty Images
5. Alex McLeish

Alex McLeish is unlikely to be the most popular of choices with Palace fans, but he is a name that fits the criteria that Parish is using to find a new boss.

The Scot has managed over 200 matches in the Premier League with Birmingham City and Aston Villa, while he has also won two SPL titles with Rangers.

His stint with Nottingham Forest ended after just seven games because of a disagreement with the owners, but McLeish would be working with a more knowledgeable chairman should he arrive at Palace.

The 54-year-old is only likely to be considered for the job should other candidates be ruled out, but with Palace likely to be favouring a British boss, McLeish could come into the running.

Odds: 33/1

Stoke City Manager Tony Pulis prior to kick-off during the match against Southampton on May 19, 2013
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