Former Fulham manager Chris Coleman is set to return to English football today as the new boss of Coventry City as chairman Ray Ranson reacted swiftly to their humiliating FA Cup exit.
Ranson, 47, whose Sisu Capital consortium bought Championship club City for £22million in December, was last night finalising a lucrative long-term deal with the former Fulham manager after sacking Iain Dowie a week ago.
And Ranson hopes to unveil Coleman today at a Ricoh Arena press conference ahead of tomorrow’s trip to fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday.
Coleman, 37, available after resigning from Spanish outfit Real Sociedad last month, has an immediate brief to save the Sky Blues from relegation.
Ranson believes the Welshman has the experience and tactical ability to turn around Coventry’s desperate plight following their embarrassing 5-0 FA Cup fifth round defeat at home to Midlands rivals West Brom.
Coleman has a huge challenge ahead of him. City, languishing in 20th, are in freefall after just two wins in 11 games.
But the new boss will be confident as Coleman kept Fulham in the Premier League against the odds.
The ex-Blackburn and Crystal Palace defender became the youngest manager in the top flight when he succeeded Jean Tigana in April 2003. And Cottagers owner Mohamed Al Fayed must regret axing Coleman after four years’ service last April.
His successor Lawrie Sanchez was a disaster – signing several expensive flops and winning just four games before being dismissed at Christmas.
If Coleman successfully retains Coventry’s Championship status, he could face his old club next season as Fulham sit 19th in the Premier League with just 12 games to go.
Coleman is set to recruit his trusted lieutenant Steve Kean from spells at Craven Cottage and Sociedad, to join him at City.
And the Swansea-born boss is considering making an approach to Fulham to take versatile stopper Ian Pearce, 33, on loan to shore up the Sky Blues’ leaky defence.
Coleman will become Coventry’s eighth boss in seven years following the club’s relegation from the Premier League in 2001.
He was not Ranson’s first choice after an approach to Wigan to lure Steve Bruce’s assistant Eric Black back to the club failed and former Newcastle coach Nigel Pearson was also considered.
Coventry caretaker duo John Harbin and Frankie Bunn, in charge for the past two games, are now set to follow Dowie, his brother Bob and Tim Flowers out of the club.