Ollie the Eagle? Palace poised to unveil Holloway as boss

It is rare for a football club, seeing one of its best human assets lured away, to find a replacement that offers an improvement on the status quo.

Ian Holloway: admired in football, and always with a ready quote. About to be unveiled as the new Palace manager

But if Steve Parish, Crystal Palace’s co-chairman, has been successful in hiring Ian Holloway as the club’s new manager, then he will yet again delight the Selhurst Park faithful.

Holloway’s appointment, expected to be announced today, will also provide inspiration to the dressing room and refuel the hope that maybe, just maybe, Palace could kick-on to the end-of-season play-offs and beyond.

Barely a fortnight since the departure of Dougie Freedman to manage Bolton, taking with him Lennie Lawrence and the support staff that have over less than two years averted relegation and got the team to fourth place in the Championship, the latest coup of Parish, the man that saved the club from administration, is to go for Holloway.

The Croydon Guardian broke the news at 8pm last night that Palace had approached Blackpool for permission to speak to their widely admired, charismatic manager.

On a threadbare budget (sound familiar?), Holloway managed to get Blackpool back to the top tier of English football – albeit all too briefly – and throughout his managerial career at Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and QPR, he has drawn admiring comments about his attacking brand of football, while keeping the press box delighted with a string of inspired, and honest, one-liners. Just the ticket for Palace.

Key to any possible deal, news of which has already gone to press for Saturday’s programme for the match against Blackburn, is a guarantee to the new boss that £10 million-rated Wilfried Zaha, the outstanding Championship player of the season so far, will not have to be sold in the January transfer window.

Palace will have to negotiate compensation with Blackpool – who are 12th, six points and eight places behind Palace – but Holloway wants Palace to make it happen.

According reports this morning, Parish and his co-chairman Stephen Browett, along with chief executive Phil Alexander, made their final decision on Holloway during the weekend win over Leicester.

Coach Curtis Fleming and former midfielder Jamie Fullarton will take the team for the match against Rovers, who themselves will be operating with a new manager, having appointed Henning Berg this week.

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