Alan Pardew next for Newcastle United hotseat
Newcastle United are set to name Alan Pardew as their next manager.
The 49-year-old is expected to be installed within 48 hours in what looks set to be a swift conclusion to the search for a successor to Chris Hughton.
That the appointment will meet with an at best lukewarm reception from supporters who are still coming to terms with Monday’s shock departure of the popular Hughton is something of an under-statement.
Securing a high-profile replacement for Hughton, who lasted just 14 months in the job, would have gone some way to winning fans round, but Mike Ashley's decision to opt for a candidate who four months ago was sacked by League One club Southampton goes nowhere near to appeasing increasingly restless natives.
With more than 500 games to his name in an 11-year managerial career spanning four clubs, Pardew at least boasts the experience which Newcastle owner Ashley claimed Hughton lacked in his major reasoning for the seemingly unfathomable decision to rid himself of the 51-year-old Irishman, a move met with almost universal derision from the football community.
Pardew, who is believed to have met Ashley in central London for talks last week, has confided in close friends in recent weeks that he expected to return to management before the end of the year, as he looks to rebuild his career following his departure from St Mary's Stadium.
Sources close to the former Crystal Palace midfielder again would again only reiterate that he remains ‘strongly interested' in the post as he prepares to become the sixth manager of a three-and-a-half-year Ashley reign that has been anything but mundane.
The multi-millionaire sportswear retailer has in a turbulent business career developed skin thick enough to deal with the inevitable backlash from supporters his latest appointment is likely to meet with.
Martin Jol had been strongly linked with the vacant role after resigning as manager of Ajax within hours of Hughton's departure from St James' Park.
But that development looks increasingly coincidental after the Dutchman distanced himself from a return to the Premier League as a move to Germany beckons for the 54-year-old former Tottenham manager.
Sources close to Alan Curbishley, another potential candidate, insist the former West Ham manager is ‘highly unlikely' to be the next man in charge on Tyneside.
Betting was suspended on Monday night after a significant amount of money was taken on the new manager being Pardew, who is set to take a watching brief for Saturday's visit by Liverpool, where the hosts will aim to stem a five-match winless run which has seen them drop into the bottom half of the table.