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Aug 25, 2014

Parish no closer on manager

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Steve Parish has admitted struggling to find the perfect man to replace Tony Pulis at Crystal Palace, revealing he has only interviewed two candidates.

Palace's co-chairman hopes to have a new manager installed by "the early part of this week", to push at least three new signings through before the September 1 transfer deadline.

Parish has only met Tim Sherwood and Malky Mackay so far in his bid to replace Pulis, who walked out on the eve of the season after rows over transfer policy.

Palace turned away from Mackay when the Scot became caught up in allegations of racism and homophobia brought by former club Cardiff, that also led to the resignation of the Eagles' sporting director Iain Moody.

Former Tottenham boss Sherwood pulled out of the running after initially being deemed second-choice.

Caretaker manager Keith Millen will take control of Tuesday's Capital One Cup trip to Walsall, keen to solve defensive shortcomings that led to Saturday's 3-1 league defeat to West Ham.

"You read all sorts of things about how many people we've seen," Parish told the Croydon Advertiser.

"I have seen very few people, probably two, but spoken to other people about managers and doing background work and due diligence.

"It's not a revolving door of people coming in and having a chat. We have got a profile of a manager we think needs to carry the club forward based on what I've experienced over the last four years.

"Finding the right person isn't easy. A lot of managers are in jobs and they're not going to leave clubs early in the season, so it's a difficult situation."

Rangers boss Ally McCoist distanced himself from the Selhurst Park role at the weekend, while Steve Clarke confirmed his interest but said no one from Palace had made contact.

Former Norwich and Newcastle boss Chris Hughton and ex-Celtic manager Neil Lennon remain squarely in the frame.

Temporary boss Millen conceded his biggest challenge now will be to piece together Palace's "fragile" confidence at Walsall.

"We conceded twice from set-pieces and that's something we haven't done in the past, and something you can't afford to do in the Premier League," said Millen.

"You put a brave face on it of course you do, I'm the one in charge at the moment.

"We've conceded two goals in three or four minutes, and that does knock the stuffing out of you, especially when you're a bit fragile."

Millen will hand Joe Ledley a late fitness test after he pulled out of the defeat to West Ham after sustaining a groin problem in the warm-up.

James Chambers could return for Walsall to ease the Saddlers' defensive problems.

The defender has missed the last three games with a groin problem but boss Dean Smith hopes he will be available after he sat out Saturday's 0-0 draw at Leyton Orient. Dean Holden has been deputising with rookie right-back Liam Kinsella also thrown into the team.

Sam Mantom is still out and has yet to play this season after suffering a knee injury in July, although the midfielder has returned to training.

Ben Purkiss is also training again but will not be risked after his ankle injury in pre-season, while Jordan Cook is yet to shake off his own ankle problem.

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