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 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 09:15 GMT
Tigana 'on the brink'
Fulham boss Jean Tigana
Tigana's Fulham are slipping nearer the drop zone
Fulham manager Jean Tigana has just one game to save his job, according to reports.

Several newspapers have claimed that the Frenchman must win against West Brom on New Year's Day or else he will be sacked.

Fulham have been in freefall in recent weeks, edging ever nearer to the relegation zone despite heavy investment in the team by chairman Mohamed Al Fayed.

If Fulham do lose against West Brom, Tigana could become the first managerial casualty of 2003.

It is believed that relations between Tigana and Al Fayed are already at breaking point, with the club failing to offer the French coach a new contract.

Should Tigana be sacked, it could cost the Cottagers 3m as assistant Christian Damiano and his team would also be expected to leave.

And despite all their deals expiring in the summer, relegation to Division One would be a far heavier price to pay for the London club.

Former Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, who was at Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Manchester City, is available and could be considered for the job.

Other options available to Al Fayed would be to put veteran Scottish star John Collins and coach Chris Coleman in joint charge on a temporary basis.

That would then pave the way for the Fulham chief to appoint his preferred long-term choice - Martin O'Neill.

O'Neill is a personal friend of Al Fayed and was the chairman's first choice when Kevin Keegan walked out on the club three years ago to take England job.

Al Fayed missed out to Celtic on that occasion, but would be ready to pounce at the end of the season when O'Neill's contract at Parkhead expires.

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