Dowie's Palace future hangs in the balance

Possibility of return to Lancashire after fall-out with Jordan as Davies eyes Charlton job
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Iain Dowie's future as the manager of Crystal Palace was in serious doubt last night. The 41-year-old is scheduled to appear at a press conference alongside Palace's chairman, Simon Jordan, tomorrow, and Clinton Morrison, the Palace striker, confirmed yesterday the two had recently fallen out.

Whether that conference has been called to confirm the pair have smoothed things over, or more likely to announce Dowie's departure from the club that he began managing in December 2003, remains to be seen.

However, it is believed Dowie is keen to be allowed to talk to Palace's south London neighbours Charlton Athletic about their managerial vacancy, created when Alan Curbishley ended his 15-year tenure at The Valley. Dowie has also been linked with Preston North End, whose manager, Billy Davies, has been given permission to speak to the Addicks.

Dowie could favour a return to the North-west as his family stayed in Lancashire after he left Oldham Athletic to join Palace.

Morrison said: "Somebody from a high authority told me that he [Dowie] had a bit of a barney with the chairman. Hopefully, with whatever has happened between Iain Dowie and the chairman, it can be sorted.

"It would be so disappointing if the manager who brought me in moves on, particularly as it would mean another change - and Palace do have a tendency to change their manager. I would have to impress somebody else all over again, although that doesn't bother me because all the fans and the chairman know what I can do. I've a good relationship with the chairman, so I know I will always be all right, but we will have to wait and see what happens.

"Dowie is a good manager who has improved me as a player in all areas, and because of him I was going into training half an hour early to work on things."

Davies has emerged as the front-runner for the vacant Charlton job after an approach to speak to Colchester United's Phil Parkinson was rejected and Hull City's Peter Taylor pulled out of the selection process, stating he preferred to stay with the Championship club. Davies has guided Preston to the play-offs in the last two seasons to enhance his reputation and the Lancashire club granted him permission to speak to the Premiership club.

Preston's chairman, Derek Shaw, was realistic about the demand for his successful manager. He said: "The club felt that if permission had not been granted, as is often the case, things could have turned sour, so we felt it was in the best interests of both parties to allow talks to take place."

However, Colchester, who were promoted to the Championship this season, turned down the Addicks' request to hold talks with Parkinson.

The Essex club released a statement which read: "The U's have refused approaches from Premiership team Charlton Athletic, as well as Championship sides Ipswich Town and Derby County - a position which all three clubs have accepted. While recognising that Mr Parkinson must have ambition for the future, it is vital we look to retain him for the future interest of everyone connected with Colchester United at this critical stage."

Shaw is content to let Davies guide his own career. The Scot has said he will not make a rash decision on his future but he believes he has nothing to lose in speaking to Charlton.

"I'm in no rush to leave Preston," he said. "But, being an ambitious manager, I think I should listen to what they have to say. I am completely open-minded about the whole thing."