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Last Updated: Friday, 22 April, 2005, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
The race for Old Trafford top job
Who will succeed Sir Alex Ferguson?

By Howard Nurse
Football editor

Sir Alex Ferguson has vowed to carry on as manager at Manchester United - but says Roy Keane could take over his job when he eventually steps down.

But when the fiery Scot does go, who is the frontrunner to step into his shoes?

Bookies have slashed the odds on Keane's chances of landing one of football's biggest jobs - but does he have the experience?

BBC Sport examines who is the best-placed candidate to take Fergie's crown.


MARTIN O'NEILL - ODDS 15/8 FAV

The affable Northern Irishman has spent five years at Celtic and has won three Scottish Premier League titles with a fourth possible this term.

With Celtic unlikely to become a force in the Champions League, the ambitious O'Neill may decide it will soon be time to move on with Manchester a likely destination.

O'Neill's stock remains high and he is the clear favourite to succeed Ferguson.

CARLOS QUEIROZ - ODDS 9/2

Carlos Queiroz has endured a rollercoaster ride in the last two years.

He has a fantastic CV, having coached his home country Portugal as well as Sporting Lisbon, New York/New Jersey MetroStars, Grampus Eight of Japan and the South Africa national team.

Queiroz was on a high after being appointed Real Madrid coach two years ago but his reign in Spain was shortlived and he was sacked after just one season.

Now back at Old Trafford as number two, the multi-lingual modern coach is second favourite and was previously tipped by Ferguson to succeed him.

ROY KEANE - ODDS 5/1

Roy Keane was at the pinnacle of his playing career two years ago when United claimed their eighth title in 11 years.

The captain's deal ends next summer and he has already begun the process of obtaining his Uefa coaching qualifications.

Now Ferguson has said the 33-year-old could replace him when he steps down and his odds have been slashed from 25/1 to third favourite.

DAVID MOYES - ODDS 10/1

In many ways, the Everton manager is a younger version of Ferguson.

The Scot, who enjoyed a touchline spat with Ferguson this week, lifted Everton to a seventh-placed finish in the Premiership two years ago.

Moyes tasted tougher times last season when the Toffees finished just one place off the relegation zone, but he has inspired them since the sale of Wayne Rooney to United and they are now on the brink of Champions League qualification.

Ferguson speaks highly of Moyes and he must have a realistic chance of replacing him.

STEVE McCLAREN - ODDS 20/1

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren was Ferguson's number two before he went solo on Teesside.

Boro have finished 11th two seasons running and won the Carling Cup in 2004.

McClaren, who played in the lower divisions, saw his stock rise when he was appointed England assistant coach last year, but he remains an outsider for the post.

BRYAN ROBSON - ODDS 25/1

Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson is still highly regarded by the Red Devils but he has yet to prove himself as a top-flight manager.

He was rock-bottom when he took Bradford City into League One last season after just seven wins as Bantams boss.

But Robson has inspired West Brom who now have a chance of pulling off the greatest escape in Premiership history.

Although his stock has risen dramatically in recent months, he remains well off the pace to succeed Ferguson.

THE OTHERS

There are plenty of other potential Old Trafford managers, including these with their latest odds from William Hill.

Steve Bruce - 10/1
Sven-Goran Eriksson - 14/1
Mark Hughes - 14/1
Fabio Capello - 20/1
Alan Curbishley 25/1




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