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Friday, March 13, 1998 Published at 15:27 GMT

Sport: Football

Lombardo rules at Palace
image: [ Attilio Lombardo scoring against Leeds United earlier in the season ]
Attilio Lombardo scoring against Leeds United earlier in the season

Italian international Attilio Lombardo has been appointed player-coach of relegation-threatened Crystal Palace until the end of the season, but the club is still hoping to bring in former England coach Terry Venables.

Current boss Steve Coppell is moving back to the role of director of football development. Lombardo, who has no coaching experience, will be assisted by Swedish teammate Tomas Brolin.

Lombardo admitted that he was "shocked" to have been offered the job of player-coach. He said: "I came home last night and received a phone call and was summoned by the chairman-to-be and I was proposed the job there and then. I had half-an-hour to make a decision, and it felt like being run over by a lorry."

Lombardo took charge of training on Friday and will pick the team for Saturday's Premiership game at Aston Villa.

[ image: Steve Coppell: second stint as director of football]
Steve Coppell: second stint as director of football
Coppell said: "This decision has been made between myself, the chairman Ron Noades and [prospective chairman] Mark Goldberg. It is a situation that I am comfortable with given our current predicament in the league, and I will support Attilio as much as I can."

Lombardo said the move was temporary and he would return to being a player when a new manager was appointed. He said: "Hopefully we will have a new manager taking over and I will go back to being a player even if Crystal Palace get relegated."

Lombardo joined Palace from Juventus as a player last summer. He is just coming back from injury.

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