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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Holloway eyes Hearts job

Ian Holloway has emerged as a new contender to become the new manager of Hearts and admits he would relish the Tynecastle challenge.

The former QPR, Leicester and Plymouth manager's agent has held talks with the Scottish Premier League club who have been searching for a permanent boss since January.

Holloway, 45, left Leicester at the end of last season, following their relegation to League One.

Hearts have ruled out appointing a Scottish manager, with owner Vladimir Romanov citing concerns about the 'local footballing mafia', but an English boss such as Holloway could fit the bill.

Holloway said in the Scottish Daily Express: 'Hearts have spoken to my agent at length and are aware that I am interested in the job.

'I believe they want to talk to me but they have concerns due to the fact I don't have my (UEFA) pro-licence.

'I don't know if that is going to cause a problem but I am working towards it and my assistant Tim Breacker already has his full UEFA pro-licence, so hopefully that will overcome the problem.

'We will have to see what happens but I am definitely interested in the job.'

Meanwhile, Stephen Frail has left Hearts 'by mutual consent', the club have announced.

The caretaker manager was told to stay away from training when the players reported for pre-season two weeks ago.

The former Hearts player had been a constant presence among the coaching staff during the turbulent spell under majority shareholder Vladmimir Romanov.

Frail's exit was confirmed a day after Romanov criticised his spell in charge.

He was appointed interim head coach in January following an unsuccessful experiment with a coaching triumvirate also involving sporting director Anatoly Korobochka and Bulgarian coach Angel Chervenkov.

Frail had been the public face of the management team and was given apparent responsibility for team selection with Hearts in 10th place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League following a five-game losing streak.

The team moved up the table and were pushing for a top-six place before a 0-0 draw at Kilmarnock in the final game before the split. Hearts then finished the season in eighth spot after losing their final three games.

That led to criticism from Romanov, who appeared to rule out employing a Scottish coach in an interview on Tuesday.

He said: 'Scottish people are part of the local footballing mafia, and it is very difficult for them to rise above that level.

'In the past I had experience of allowing people to run the club, allowing locals to run the club, but that really didn't bring tangible results.

'Even in the beginning of the year, the team was managed by local people. It was fully their responsibility, nobody interfered with them.

'You knew who was in charge of the team, Stephen Frail, so in the end that did not bring good results.

'They lost a lot of places in the table, nearly falling down to the lower league.'

The club were more conciliatory in announcing the departure of Frail, who rejoined Hearts as under-19 coach in 2004 before being promoted to assistant coach.

A statement on read: 'As a former Hearts player, having appeared 66 times for the Edinburgh football club, Stephen will always be welcome at Tynecastle, and leaves Hearts with everyone's best wishes for the future.

'Hearts will make an announcement on the appointment of a new football manager shortly.'

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