Crystal Palace's appointment of a new manager looks set to come down to a choice between Tim Sherwood and Malky Mackay, club sources have told ESPN FC.
Palace co-chairman Steve Parish has met the candidates extensively over the past few days following Tony Pulis' departure on Thursday. Although Palace are not completely closed off to other options, both coaches made persuasive cases, who were identified as leading candidates for the job soon after it became vacant.
According to ESPN FC sources, Parish is impressed with some of Sherwood's long-term plans, as well as his work as a coach, despite some of the controversy surrounding his short stint in charge of Tottenham Hotspur last season.
The appointment of Sherwood could involve something of an overhaul of the back-room staff, however, which Palace would prefer to avoid. The coach's transfer policy could also deviate from that of sporting director Iain Moody.
By contrast, Mackay's fine working relationship with Moody is well known, and the former Cardiff City manager could go some way to replicating the bullishness and structure evident under Pulis.
The Scot had been seen as the most likely appointment since Pulis left just two days before the start of the Premier League season, but sources told ESPN FC that Sherwood made a huge impression in his meetings.
Palace caretaker manager Keith Millen -- who has said he'd like to continue in the role -- was in charge on Saturday when the club opened their new campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Arsenal. Their first home match of the season is next Saturday, when they host London rivals West Ham United.
Defender Brede Hangeland scored in that match, and said afterwards that he is sure the right appointment will be made.
"There's been a lot of focus on the club in the last few days," the defender, who joined Palace from Fulham as a free agent this summer, told the Croydon Guardian. "We don't know anything more than you.
"Tony Pulis is a great manager and he's one of the reasons why I joined the club. But there are a lot of good things about it.
"[Pulis' departure] was a bit of a shock but it's happened and we need to try to move on.
"The most important thing is to just keep working -- if we play like we did today we will be okay. I'm sure the people in charge will make the right decision."