Fulham home in on new boss

Fulham are set to step up the search for their new manager – with Ajax boss Martin Jol and Sven-Goran Eriksson reportedly now heading the club’s shortlist.

More than two weeks have passed since Roy Hodgson called time on a successful two-and-a-half-year stint at Craven Cottage and the club would like to install his replacement before the team begin their training camp in Sweden on Monday.

Two of the original favourites for the job – Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and the USA’s Bob Bradley – both now seem unlikely to take up the post.

Former Bayern Munich manager Hitzfeld ruled himself out of the race while a statement from the United States Soccer Federation outlined their intention for Bradley to extend his current contract as United States manager.

“Bob is under contract with US Soccer until the end of the year and discussions are ongoing,” a USSF spokesman said.

Eriksson’s wages could prove a stumbling block for Fulham owner Mohammed Al Fayed, who has apparently set a limit of £1m a year for the new manager’s salary.

The Swede also revealed earlier this week that he is considering a lucrative offer to return as head coach of the Ivory Coast, whom he managed at the World Cup.

“They were really pleased and I guess that I can stay on if I want to. If so, it will be for four years until the next World Cup finals,” Eriksson said on SVT.

“I will make up my mind in a week or so. I have to do it soon since there are friendlies in August and qualifications for the Africa Cup of Nations in September and October.”

Jol, who was sacked by Tottenham in October 2007, may relish the opportunity of managing in the Barclays Premier League again although whether he would leave Ajax, who will be playing Champions League football next year if they come through qualifying, remains unclear.

With Fulham’s pre-season campaign already under way, the players are desperate to see the situation resolved as soon as possible.

“It is a little bit frustrating not having someone in place,” said midfielder Simon Davies following Fulham’s first pre-season fixture against Brentford, which they won 5-0.

“I’ve no idea who it’s going to be but the club have said that by the end of this week or the beginning of next week, they’ll have someone in place.”

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