Dowie and Coleman keep old fires burning

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The Independent Football

The Charlton manager, Iain Dowie, is relishing the prospect of a tactical battle with his old friend Chris Coleman at Fulham tonight.

The two coaches have built up a close bond following their spell as players at Crystal Palace in the mid-1990s. "We were very good friends when we were at Palace," Dowie said. "But we fought like cat and dog on the pitch when we were playing against each other and had one or two little scuffles in training.

"Chris is a real leader and was a very good player. He was just a great to have around the place, and is the type of lad you would go to war with - he would be standing beside you."

Dowie feels Coleman deserves credit for the way he carved out a career in coaching after his playing days were brought to an end by a car crash in 2001.

"Chris has come back and he keeps himself ticking over with a certain level of fitness," Dowie said. "He fought hard to get there and is on a whole new chapter in his career.

"He is doing well for himself. But I hope we go there and give him a little kick if we can - to give him one back for all of the times he kicked me."