TONY Popovic will take over as Crystal Palace's first team coach in time for Saturday’s visit to Coventry.

Popovic became a firm fans’ favourite during his five-year spell in SE25 as a player and new manager Dougie Freedman says he was always keen to add his former team-mate to his backroom team.

The boss revealed: “I’ve played with him, I’ve done my coaching badges with him and he’s the right sort of character.

“He was at Crystal Palace for five or so years as a player, he knows the place inside out and he knows what the club is all about and where we’re trying to go.

“I had to be patient on it because he’s been in Sydney where he’s been an assistant manager for the last three or four years.

“It has taken a little bit of time to persuade Sydney to let him go but I’ve done that now and he will be at the Coventry game and will be helping us from there.”

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