Soccer-Fulham appoint former boss Wilkins as assistant coach


Dec 31 (Reuters) - English Premier League strugglers Fulham have appointed former manager Ray Wilkins as assistant to new boss Rene Meulensteen to aid their battle against relegation.

Meulensteen was only appointed manager at the start of December after stepping up from the role of head coach, which he held for a matter of weeks, to succeed the sacked Martin Jol.

The addition of former England, Manchester United, Chelsea and AC Milan midfielder Wilkins, who managed Fulham for the 1997-98 season in the third tier, follows the appointment of ex Charlton Athletic and West Ham United boss Alan Curbishley as technical director.

"I am delighted that the Chairman and the CEO have, again, backed my desire for further experience and support within the backroom staff," former Manchester United assistant Meulensteen told the club's website of Wilkins, who was previously assistant at West London rivals Chelsea.

Fulham are 18th in the table after suffering some crushing defeats of late, including a 6-0 mauling at the hands of Hull City on Saturday and 4-1 loss at Everton earlier this month.

They host Curbishley's former club West Ham, also in the relegation zone, in a pivotal London derby on Wednesday. (Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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