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Dowie charged with taking QPR back to the top flight

Reports last week suggested it might be Zinedine Zidane. Instead, Iain Dowie has been appointed as the new first-team coach of Queen's Park Rangers. The 43-year-old, who spent three years with the club as a player and also had stints as caretaker manager and assistant manager, has signed a two-year contract.

"This is a very exciting long-term project," he said. "I'm very privileged to have been given the opportunity under the new ownership to return to the club where I served my managerial apprenticeship.

"I've been thoroughly impressed by the new investors and their fresh, aggressive and innovative approach to all sporting matters, as well as the marketing and commercial aspect of this football club."

Dowie replaces Italian coach Luigi de Canio, who parted company with the club last week after guiding them off the foot of the Championship to a 14th-place finish in his eight months in charge.

A former Northern Ireland striker, Dowie led Crystal Palace from the relegation zone to the Premier League in 2004 via a play-off final victory over West Ham. He has had less successful stints in charge of Charlton and Coventry.

Dowie is expected to be given significant funds to mount a Premier League promotion push by owners Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal who spent around £5m in the January transfer market and have already signed Tottenham goalkeeper Radek Cerny and Newcastle defender Peter Ramage this summer.