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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 25, 2006

Charlton still searching for Curbishley's replacement

The protracted search for Charlton's new manager will continue over the weekend after Preston boss Billy Davies became the latest man to drop out of the race to succeed Alan Curbishley at The Valley.

The Addicks looked to be close to making a decision following what was understood to have been a positive meeting with the 41-year-old Scot on Monday.

However, Preston today revealed the south-east London club will now not be pursuing their interest in Davies, who has led North End to two successive but unsuccessful play-off campaigns.

With recently-departed Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie understood to now be high on the Addicks' wanted list, while England and Bolton coach Sammy Lee also appears to be back in the frame, there look set to be further discussions with interested parties before any announcement is made.

When Curbishley's impending departure was announced on April 29, chairman Richard Murray maintained the club would ``need a replacement here in the next few weeks'' - a statement which now clearly seems somewhat optimistic given the complex negotiations involved after the post was advertised in the national press.

Apart from revealing the club had finally ``drawn up a shortlist of the potential candidates'' on May 12, there has since been no further official comment from Charlton, with today's latest development publicised by Preston chairman Derek Shaw.

Hull and England Under-21 manager Peter Taylor also made public the withdrawal of his candidacy, while Colchester were happy to announce they had flatly refused Charlton permission to speak to Phil Parkinson, who had just guided the Essex club into the Championship.

The former Reading midfielder, 38, has since expressed his disappointment at Colchester's stance - with approaches from managerless Ipswich and Derby also rejected - and it remains to be seen whether Parkinson himself will yet enter the discussions.

For now, though, the only thing certain is that Davies will remain at Deepdale, where he will try to guide the Lancashire club into the Premiership at the third time of asking next season.

North End chairman Shaw told club's official website, www.pnefc.co.uk: ``I have been informed this morning by Charlton that they are 'going to move on'.

``They will not be pursuing Billy Davies any more and also said they would like to thank PNE for our cooperation and apologise for any disruption to our club.

``I would like to thank Charlton for their professionalism in this matter, as I feel that everything has been done via the book.

``Billy will be back at Deepdale today continuing with his preparations for next season.''

Preston also refused Derby permission to talk to Davies over their managerial vacancy today.

Charlton are obviously keen to announce a decision before the start of the World Cup, with the new coaching team needing to be in place to prepare for a provisional pre-season trip to South Africa at the end of July ahead of a friendly against New Zealand on August 5 at The Valley.

The new Addicks boss could, meanwhile, also have to focus on a European campaign.

Although Charlton - who at one stage occupied second place in the Premiership last season - failed to secure a UEFA Cup berth after again fading over the second half of the campaign, they will enter a lottery for a spot in the qualifying round after finishing top of the Fair Play League for English clubs.

Along with 10 others, the Addicks will go into the pot on June 4 hoping to be one of the lucky sides drawn out for the two UEFA Cup slots available.

Charlton also made the Fair Play League draw two years ago, after finishing third behind Champions League qualifiers Arsenal and Chelsea - but missed out in the lottery.

Should the south-east London side benefit from better fortune this time around, their two-legged qualifying tie would take place on July 14 and 27, and so the planned trip to South Africa would need to be rescheduled.