Fulham set for Hughes announcement

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Mark Hughes looks set for a return to the Barclays Premier League after Fulham confirmed they are on the brink of appointing their new manager.

Although the Cottagers stopped short of confirming Hughes was their choice, the former Manchester City manager has been widely tipped to become the successor to Roy Hodgson. Hughes, 46, who was sacked by Manchester City last December, is understood to have reached an agreement with Fulham with an announcement now expected within the next 48 hours.

A spokesperson for the west London club told Press Association Sport: "I can confirm that we are hopeful of an announcement within the next 24/48 hours."

Bookmakers installed Hughes as firm favourite to land the job after Fulham lost out in their bid to prise Martin Jol away from Ajax.

The expected arrival of Hughes will almost certainly be followed by a reshuffle of the backroom staff at Craven Cottage.

First-team coach Ray Lewington, currently caretaker manager following Hodgson's departure to Liverpool, is expected to link-up with him again on Merseyside.

Goalkeeping coach Mike Kelly could also leave for Liverpool with Hughes expected to bring in his own regular backroom staff that includes Mark Bowen, Kevin Hitchcock and Eddie Niedzwiecki.

The move to appoint Hughes has been carefully planned by Fulham with Al-Fayed refusing to panic after Ajax rejected their move for Jol.

Hughes will also need to consider a deal for Steve Sidwell from Aston Villa as well as persuade goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to stay at the club if Arsenal decide to step-up their interest in the Australian stopper.

Hughes, who was always on the club's shortlist, pipped former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson and Ottmar Hitzfeld, who were also linked with the post.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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