Francis to take over at Palace

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Trevor Francis is set to be named as the new manager of Crystal Palace tomorrow with funds immediately at his disposal to reinforce his squad.

Francis has had talks with the Palace chairman, Simon Jordan, and coaches Steve Kember and Terry Bullivant, who will take charge of the team for the last time at Coventry tonight.

The former Birmingham City manager has been promised funds to spend in order to strengthen a squad that has looked stretched in recent games. He is expected to make an immediate move for two midfielders, Brentford's Gavin Mahon and Derby County's Daryl Powell. Mahon is rated at around £1.5m while Powell is valued at a similar fee, although he would have to be prepared to drop down a division.

Jordan, meanwhile, is close to agreeing a compromise settlement figure with Birmingham for Steve Bruce, who is currently on "gardening leave" after attempting to resign from Palace in order to take up the St Andrews post. Birmingham's joint caretaker managers, Mick Mills and Jim Barron, have been told they will remain in charge for the foreseeable future.

The Rangers defender Michael Ball has been fined £10,000 following his angry exchange with the Ibrox manager, Dick Advocaat, during the 2-1 defeat against Celtic. Ball was enraged by Advocaat's decision to substitute him towards the end of the match.

Leicester are confident that Brian Deane will complete his move from Middlesbrough in time for Saturday's Premiership meeting with Aston Villa. The former Leeds player is expected to sign in the next 24 hours.

It will be the second time that Deane, 33, has linked up with Bassett, who signed him for Sheffield United from Doncaster more than a decade ago.

The Preston manager, David Moyes, is making a move for the Iran international left wing-back Mehrdad Minavand, who is leaving the Austrian club Sturm Graz on a free transfer. The 25-year-old, who played against the Republic of Ireland last week, is due to arrive in England for talks today.

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