Martin Jol has emerged as the favourite to succeed Mark Hughes as Fulham boss following the ambitious Welsh tactician’s controversial decision to end his stint in charge at Craven Cottage on Thursday after just one season.
The Dutch coach has never hidden his desire to return to the Premier League after enjoying a fairly successful three-year stint as Tottenham manager between 2004 and 2007 and came close to agreeing terms with the Cottagers last year.
On that occasion, his ties to then employers Ajax prevented a deal from being finalised but as he is now unemployed and Fulham have shown an interest in hiring him in the past, it is understandable that he is rated 7/4 to make the move.
Martin O’Neill is also considered a serious contender at 2/1 due to an apparent friendship with the club’s chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed. The Northern Irishman is clear to go back to work after recently resolving his dispute with Aston Villa.
Others thought to be in the frame are former England chief Steve McClaren at 6/1 and Lee Clark at 7/1, though despite a solid CV at club level, McClaren probably wouldn’t prove too popular a choice, while it may be too soon for Clark.
The ex-Fulham player has spent 30 months in League One with Huddersfield, where despite building a very competitive side, he has twice missed out on promotion in the play-offs. He perhaps need to achieve that before stepping up.
England striker Bobby Zamora has admitted that Hughes’ departure stunned him, and expressed his desire for a replacement to be identified before the players start pre-season training in less than three weeks time.
The reason the Cottagers are back in action so soon is that their first Europa League qualifier takes place on June 30, as they bid to improve on their heroic run to the final in 2009-10.