Central Coast Mariners man linked to Manchester United coaching search

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Central Coast Mariners sporting director and ex-Manchester United assistant Mike Phelan could be set for a return to the Old Trafford touchline this season with reports claiming he will partner Ole Gunnar Solksjaer as the Red Devils' caretaker managers.

United sacked manager Jose Mourinho on Tuesday after having suffered their worst start to a season for 28 years.

Although United would neither confirm nor deny media reports about who would take charge, Norwegian Solskjaer and Phelan are "clear front runners" and a decision would be made shortly.

It is believed Phelan will be Solkjaer's assistant at United until the end of the Premier League season.

55-year-old Phelan was Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man at United from 2008-2013, playing his part in three Premier League title victories, a UEFA Champions League triumph, two League Cup wins and a FIFA Club World Cup.

The announcement of Phelan's appointment as Mariners sporting director in July was considered a major coup for the A-League club.

The former Red Devils player and coach was tasked with rejuvenating the struggling Central Coast side's youth development programs.

Phelan was not required to move to Australia full-time for the role, instead traveling from his Manchester home to Gosford a few times a year to run coaching clinics and help oversee the ongoing coaching philosophy of the A-League outfit.

It is not clear if he will need to step down from his role with the Mariners if a short-term coaching return to Old Trafford comes to fruition.