DAVID Unsworth is no longer a candidate to become Oxford United's new manager.

He had been the favourite with bookmakers to succeed Pep Clotet since before last weekend.

But the Liverpool Echo are reporting Unsworth rejected the opportunity after speaking with United yesterday.

However, U's chairman Darryl Eales disputes the claim.

He said: "We asked permission to speak to Unsworth as one of a number of highly-capable candidates.

"We’ve had meetings with several people and the process continues, but at no stage was Unsworth our number one candidate and we’ve made no offer to anybody."

Unsworth is in charge of Everton Under 23s and while there is a desire to get into management, it is thought it would take a special offer to move.

Craig Bellamy is the new front-runner, with Cardiff City's player development manager now rated as odds-on.