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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Hughes close to signing new deal
Wales' John Hartson and Andy Melville in the 2-0 win over Finland
Hughes has found a winning formula with Wales
The Football Association of Wales is to offer national manager Mark Hughes a new extended contract.

Hughes is currently contracted until 2004, but the FAW is keen to secure his services for another two years.

President Des Shanklin refused to give details about the size of the salary involved, but the deal will almost certainly make Hughes the highest paid manager in Welsh football history.

Negotiations with Hughes have already begun, and Shanklin said everything should be finalised in time for Italy's visit to Cardiff next month.


Mark Hughes will be the Wales team manager for a few years to come
FAW president Des Shanklin
"Mark has brought stability, respect, skill into the squad," Shanklin told BBC Wales Sport.

"He's had wonderful career as a player and his passing on his experience to the young players.

"He has done an unbelievable job since he took over. It's been fantastic - there's no doubt about it."

He added: "I can assure everyone that Mark Hughes will be the Wales team manager for a few years to come."

Despite a difficult start to his international managerial career which saw Wales going 12 matches without a win, Hughes has now found a winning formula.

The 2-0 win against Finland in their opening Euro 2004 qualifier on Saturday stretched the side's unbeaten run to six matches.

Hughes, though, still needs resolve the issue of Mark Bowen's continued involvement as his assistant.

Former England captain and coach Bryan Robson
Bryan Robson could join the Wales coaching team
The Birmingham City first team coach did not travel to Finland - nor to Croatia for the recent friendly - and the Premiership club look likely to refuse to release him for future internationals.

With Eric Harrison's involvement limited because of health problems, that leaves Hughes with only Eddie Niedzwiecki to help with training duties.

But with the national wide riding on the crest of wave at them moment, Hughes should have little difficulty in attracting suitable candidates.

David Williams, Dean Saunders and Brian Flynn are all available.

And as there would be no real objection to having a foreigner on board, Hughes' former Manchester United team-mate Bryan Robson could be soon wearing a Welsh tracksuit.


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