Dowie to sign short contract with Palace

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Iain Dowie plans to avoid becoming the latest manager in and out of the door at Crystal Palace after being offered only an 18-month contract by them.

The 38-year-old former Palace striker was introduced yesterday as the club's seventh manager in less than four years, and he will receive little time to transform Palace into promotion contenders. But Dowie took a financially troubled Oldham Athletic into the Second Division play-offs last season and is so confident he can be a success in south London that he turned down the chance to manage Northern Ireland to take the job.

"We're all aware of how many managers there have been here but that's as a result of the club not being where it should be, especially when £31m has been spent on it," he said.

"It doesn't concern me. The chairman [Simon Jordan] is not cautious, and that's refreshing. He has a desperate, unbending desire to take this club forward, and it's my onerous responsibility to do that. It's a responsibility I'm happy to take on for 18 months or five years. It doesn't matter to me.

"I've not been able to sleep with excitement," he said. "The term sleeping giant is over-used but I believe this is a big, big club which deserves to be in the Premiership ... It's not an easy job, but I believe I will succeed."

By offering Dowie such a short contract, Jordan will avoid any costly compensation pay-out. The chairman said: "Having been in the situation where I've done nothing but pay managers to leave, I want to make sure my mentality is the right one. A man should only be secure in his job by the job he does. Contracts are irrelevant."

Dowie takes over from the caretaker player-manager, Kit Symons, with Palace five points above the relegation zone. Symons only discovered he was being overlooked for the position in a heated, televised discussion with Jordan before Saturday's 3-0 win over Reading. But Jordan said: "There's no bad blood between me and Kit Symons. I'm sure he'll be very supportive of Iain Dowie."

Dowie's first game in charge is against Millwall on Boxing Day, when Symons will revert to his role as a defender.