Chris Hughton, Steve Clarke and current caretaker Kit Symons head up a three-man managerial shortlist to take the reins at Fulham, according to the Mirror.
The former Norwich City boss is thought to be a major and possibly the strongest contender for the role. Hughton, who turns 55 in December, was considered as a possibility for the Leeds United role before they appointed Darko Milanic earlier this year.
Hughton enjoyed an expansive playing career, serving Tottenham for almost 13 years before moving on to West Ham and later Brentford. The former full-back also achieved over 50 caps at international level with the Republic of Ireland.
His managerial credentials are also impressive, but Hughton is surely looking for a role which he can service for the long term after stints of no more than two years at Newcastle, Birmingham and Norwich respectively.
Following Norwich’s poor league performance earlier this year, Hughton was dismissed from his role and will now surely have a point to prove. The Fulham hierarchy will be hoping that he can take them on to further heights, with him having achieved a 4th place Championship finish in the single season that he managed Birmingham in 2011-12.
Steve Clarke is also thought to be a good bet for the position. Having enjoyed a playing career at just two clubs – St. Mirren and Chelsea, the former defender progressed quickly into non-playing roles following the end of his career.
Clarke served as assistant manager at Newcastle, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool, learning from managerial greats such as Jose Mourinho and Kenny Dalglish. The opportunity presented itself to progress into a managerial position in June 2012, when Clarke was hired as West Brom head coach.
Though he impressed in his first season in charge, accumulating the highest number of Premier League points in the club’s history, he was dismissed in December 2013 after four defeats in a row.
Clarke will now be looking for a second chance to prove his worth in management, and Fulham appears to be an ideal opportunity.
Christopher ‘Kit’ Symons coincidentally also served his playing career as a defender, turning out for the likes of Portsmouth, Manchester City, Fulham and Crystal Palace as well as Wales at international level.
Symons’ main experience at managerial level is amassed through various caretaker positions, including two spells at Crystal Palace, Colchester United and presently Fulham. He has impressed in his short spell in charge so far, accumulating three wins which also includes the 4 – 0 thrashing of Bolton earlier this month.
Though he may not be as experienced as the other two candidates, fans and players have both voiced their support for him to take the position full-time.
New sense of direction
With the Fulham board having a tough decision to make over the next week having already thought to have interviewed the candidates, it is hoped that whoever takes over will be able to provide the club with a new sense of direction.
Following Mark Hughes’ departure in 2011, Fulham have turned to Martin Jol, Rene Meulensteen and Felix Magath but none of the listed were able to transform Fulham’s fortunes and a relegation to the Championship quickly ensued.
With a fantastic playing squad to work with, the new manager will hopefully be able to address whisperings of possible successive relegations with Fulham lying in 22nd place having amassed just seven points in 11 league games.
Who would be your choice to take over at Craven Cottage? Have your say below.
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