PAOK changes coach again

Thessaloniki soccer club PAOK became the third Super League team to make its third coaching change this season, now just over the midway mark, by announcing the arrival of local Giorgos Paraschos in place of the recently hired Serb Momsilo Vukotic. One of the country’s biggest and more historic clubs that has, nevertheless, had to deal with serious financial problems recently, PAOK slipped from fourth to fifth place last weekend following a 3-2 home defeat against frontrunner and rival Olympiakos. The club’s more recent record has been poor. PAOK has won just one of its past seven league games, drawn one and lost five. Sensing its UEFA Cup berth for next season under threat, the club’s administration took action following PAOK’s weekend defeat. Vukotic was believed to have signed a contract for the season’s remainder. The Thessaloniki team began the season with Romanian Ile Dumitrescu at the helm. After resigning last October, Dumitrescu was succeeded by the 54-year-old Vukotic, a former star player and coach at Partizan Belgrade, as well as an international with the former Yugoslavia, who has also worked with Greek club Panionios and the Cypriot national team. Paraschos, who has built a reputation as one of the country’s finest homegrown coaches, made a surprising departure from mid-table Atromitos less than a fortnight ago. Paraschos attributed the severance to what he described as a conflict in thinking between him and the club’s boss. In other developments at PAOK, the club was expected to end its contract with Cypriot Costas Charalambidis, on loan from Panathinaikos as part of a deal for the transfer of striker Dimitris Salpiggidis from PAOK to Panathinaikos last summer. Moreover, negotiations for the return of Greece midfielder Pantelis Kafes to PAOK from Olympiakos are likely to begin this week.

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