Steven Pressley tipped to be the new Hearts manager

Steven Pressley is the new favourite to become Hearts manager as the club prepare to name Ian Cathro's successor this week.

Steven Pressley could be named new Hearts manager this week. Picture: Getty.
Steven Pressley could be named new Hearts manager this week. Picture: Getty.
Steven Pressley could be named new Hearts manager this week. Picture: Getty.
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Former Hearts captain Pressley was promoted to the top of the bookmakers’ lists for the job after Dougie Freedman, one of the other leading candidates, was appointed as sporting director of Crystal Palace yesterday.

Freedman had made it onto a five-man shortlist compiled by Hearts owner Ann Budge and director of football Craig Levein following a series of interviews over the past three weeks.

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With Freedman now out of contention, Hearts will make their choice from the remaining quartet of Pressley, current interim head coach Jon Daly, Paul Hartley and Billy Davies.

Pressley, 43, has been out of work since he resigned as Fleetwood Town manager in July 2016. The former Falkirk and Coventry City boss, who previously had two matches in caretaker charge of Hearts during his spell as a player at the club, is believed to have impressed Budge and Levein.

Hearts, however, have been forced to give serious consideration as to whether Daly, the club’s under-20 coach, merits the opportunity to retain the head coach duties on a permanent basis.

The 34-year-old Irishman has carried out his duties with assurance and authority since being handed the reins following Cathro’s sacking at the start of this month. After a 4-1 defeat at Celtic Park on the opening day of the Premiership campaign, Daly has stabilised Hearts with a 1-0 win at Kilmarnock and then Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Rangers at Ibrox. A popular figure throughout the club, Daly also has the enthusiastic backing of the first-team squad who have responded positively to his input.

Hartley, the former Scotland midfielder who enjoyed a successful spell at Hearts as a player from 2003 to 2007, remains keen on the job. The 40-year-old is determined to reassert his reputation in management after being sacked by Dundee in April this year.

The addition of Davies, the former Motherwell, Preston, Derby County and Nottingham Forest manager, to the Hearts shortlist was something of a surprise. The 53-year-old is by far the most experienced of the candidates but has been out of work since being dismissed from his second spell in charge of Forest in March 2014.

Freedman, 43, had been rated as the bookies’ favourite before he landed a surprise return to Crystal Palace. A former player and manager at the London club, he will now oversee their player 

The ex-Scotland striker made 330 league appearances in two spells at Palace, before becoming manager from January 2011 to October 2012. Freedman had been out of work since being sacked by Nottingham Forest in March 2016.

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“I felt this was a position the club needed,” said recently appointed Palace manager Frank de Boer.

“I always worked with a sporting director during my time as manager at Ajax – I am looking forward to working with Dougie in this transfer window and beyond.”

“This is a position I have been looking to fill for a while,” said Palace chairman Steve Parish.

“I’m delighted that Dougie has agreed to accept the position and look forward to continuing Crystal Palace’s progression to become a solid Premier League club with the right infrastructure.”