Valley finale could secure Fulham post for Coleman

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The Independent Online

Fulham's caretaker manager, Chris Coleman, will become favourite to fill the post permanently if the team do well at Charlton tomorrow.

Fulham's caretaker manager, Chris Coleman, will become favourite to fill the post permanently if the team do well at Charlton tomorrow.

Coleman's calming effect on the squad after Jean Tigana's departure has impressed Fulham's owner, Mohamed Al-Fayed, who has put on hold interviews for the final two outside candidates, George Burley and Klaus Toppmöller, until after the Charlton game.

If Coleman, who has steered Fulham away from the danger of relegation with key wins against Everton and Newcastle, is offered the job full-time, it will probably be in tandem with his assistant, Steve Kean.

The Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill, ended speculation about his future by revealing that he had signed a new contract with the Glasgow club. Earlier this week it emerged that he had not yet put his signature on the rolling one-year deal which he agreed with a handshake in January.

"I have signed the documents," he said. "But it still won't prevent me from getting the bullet if the results don't go right. Brian Clough once said the only thing that is inevitable in football is getting the boot."

The case against Liverpool's El Hadji Diouf, who faces charges of assaulting the fan on whom he allegedly spat during his club's Uefa Cup tie at Celtic in March, opened at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday. The Senegal international was excused from the hearing, which continues later this month.

The French striker Christophe Dugarry is poised to sign a two-year contract with Birmingham City, committing himself to St Andrew's until the summer of 2005, a year longer than had been expected after the end of his loan deal from Bordeaux this summer.

The Brazil and Real Madrid defender, Roberto Carlos, has been banned for three international matches by the game's world governing body, Fifa, after being sent off for pushing a referee. The incident happened after he had protested against the award of a free-kick by the referee during a friendly in Portugal in March.

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