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By Graham Wood
ATHENS (Reuters) - Panathinaikos will appoint former assistant boss Giannis Anastasiou as their coach for next season as the Greek Super League club try to recover from a shock sixth-place finish this term.
The 40-year-old former Greece international will replace Giannis Vonortas, who will return to his duties coaching the academy youth side after taking over in a caretaker role for the final few weeks of the season.
A club spokesman said on Wednesday that the Greens have reached an agreement with Anastasiou and that all that remains is an official announcement which is set to come on Thursday.
Anastasiou, who enjoyed a successful playing career in Greece, Holland and Belgium, was previously assistant coach at Panathinaikos from 2008-10 under Dutch coach Hen Ten Cate.
Anastasiou joined Reading in January 2013 as a first-team coach but left the English Premier League club following the departure of manager Brian McDermott on March 11.
Panathinaikos went through four coaches in a dreadful campaign which has seen the club fail to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1997.
Vonortas was the Athens side's coach for the final three matches of the season and followed Spanish coach Fabri, Argentine Juan Ramon Rocha and Portuguese boss Jesualdo Ferreira, who had started the campaign in the dugout.
The 2012/13 season was supposed to herald the start of an optimistic new chapter under fan ownership after the transfer of the Vardinoyiannis family's majority shareholding to the new 'Panathinaikos Alliance' was completed last year.
But under president Giannis Alafouzos, the club have continued to struggle financially and were forced to let go several of their Greece internationals such as Kostas Katsouranis, Loukas Vintra, Nikos Spiropoulos and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos during the season.
To make matters worse, arch-rivals Olympiakos Piraeus wrapped up their 40th league title with embarrassing ease in mid-March while Panathinaikos finished 37 points behind their neighbours after experiencing their worst season on record.
(Editing by Mark Meadows; firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; email@example.com)