Coleman backs Southgate to take Boro reins

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The Independent Football

The Fulham manager, Chris Coleman, is backing Gareth Southgate if his old defensive partner decides that he wants to succeed Steve McClaren as the Middlesbrough manager.

Coleman, the youngest manager in the Premiership when he took the helm at Fulham three years ago, believes Southgate could take the job in his stride, despite having no managerial experience.

The pair, who played together at the heart of the Crystal Palace defence a decade and a half ago, come face to face tomorrow when Southgate turns out for Middlesbrough against Coleman's team at Craven Cottage. "I think people thought it was going to be a problem for me but here we are three years later so who's to say Gareth can't do the same thing?" Coleman said. "I know Gareth very well. He's very serious about his football. That doesn't guarantee you will be a successful boss but I think he'd be good at it."

Everton will pay their last respects to the late Brian Labone at Goodison Park tomorrow, but whether the visit of the relegated West Bromwich Albion marks the final appearance in royal blue of Duncan Ferguson remains uncertain following David Moyes' decision to delay an announcement on the 34-year-old's future.

Ferguson is one of four senior players out of contract at Everton this summer, along with Nigel Martyn, David Weir and Alan Stubbs. Ferguson, however, retains cult status at Everton, for whom he has scored 71 goals in 272 appearances, but supporters' hopes of preparing a tributehave been stalled by Moyes' refusal to inform his out-of-contract players of their fate until Monday.

* The former England international, Darren Anderton, is one of four Wolves players being released by Glenn Hoddle. He is joined by Stefan Postma, Maurice Ross and Vio Ganea.

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