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Former Liverpool and France coach Gerard Houllier and Fulham manager Chris Coleman have emerged as contenders to replace Mark Hughes as the next manager of Wales.

Gary Speed, who retired from international football after Wednesday’s 3-2 home defeat to Poland and the man favoured by the players to take over, may lose out because his club Bolton have demanded £750,000 in compensation.

Houllier spoke with the Welsh FA last week and could be interviewed for the job after the final short-list is drawn up later this month.

A dream ticket involving Houllier and former Welsh international striker, Ian Rush, has been mooted. Rush, who is currently in charge at Chester City, worked with Houllier at Anfield before the Frenchman’s dismissal at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, the players’ have made it clear that their choice would be a combination of Speed and former Swansea and Wrexham manager Brian Flynn.

However, Speed is under contract at Bolton until 2006 and the club would be reluctant to let him go.

But the Daily Mail reports that Fulham boss Coleman, Swansea-born and capped 32 times, is also interested in the job.

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