Next Crystal Palace Manager: Fans left praying for Pulis

Neil Warnock won just three of his 17 games in charge this term

The 2014/15 Premier League campaign's first casualty came at the same place as last one: Crystal Palace...

"Steve Parish alone knows both how much damage was done to his relationship with Pulis in August and how many concessions he is willing to make to woo back the relegation-proof gaffer."

There is only one man who Crystal Palace fans want to save them from Premier League relegation following Neil Warnock's slightly surprising Yuletide dismissal and it isn't Tim Sherwood, who is the 4.3100/30 favourite to succeed him.

Instead, Eagles supporters are pining for a surprise Christmas reconciliation with Warnock's 9.08/1-rated predecessor Tony Pulis, the sole manager to have ever kept them in the Premier League.

The south Londoners' four top-flight campaigns pre-Pulis all ended in demotion and this one is on course to as well: they are in 18th place with 15 points from 18 games and adjudged 2.789/5 third favourites to go down.

However, Pulis inherited a far bleaker situation last November - seven points from 12 matches, three points from safety (this time, three teams are within two points of them) - and somehow led them to 11th with 45 points, 12 points clear of danger.

It was enough to earn him the Premier League Manager of the Season award and to have Palace fans dreaming of finally establishing themselves as top-tier furniture after two decades of yo-yoing and flirting with financial ruin, but he resigned days before the start of 2014/15.

A dispute with chairman Steve Parish over transfer direction and other club-policy matters triggered the separation and Parish alone knows both how much damage was done to that relationship then and how many concessions he would be willing to make to woo back the relegation-proof gaffer.

Given his publicised dissatisfaction with Pulis' conduct then, he may be too proud to plead for his return, though the list of alternatives suggests that it would be the wisest plan.

Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic is a 7.06/1 second favourite behind brash Sherwood, with Chris Hughton at 9.417/2 the only other single-digit candidate besides those two and Pulis.

If the big Pulis reunion isn't to take place then caretaker Keith Millen is possibly the most attractive punt at 10.09/1 despite the Alan Irvine overtones (his previous managerial experience is limited to a brief, undistinguished spell in the Football League with Bristol City).

He has twice performed passably as a stopgap, is popular at Selhurst Park, is already on the payroll and presumably won't be as demanding in January's window as Pulis, Sherwood or any other outside option with a bit more grandeur. If he lasts ten consecutive league fixtures, even as an interim, you will be paid out.

Whatever the future holds, Millen is pencilled in to take charge of Sunday's trip to QPR, in which the Eagles are 3.259/4 to triumph.

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