O'Neill, Allardyce top West Ham wish list
West Ham United hope to appoint a new manager within the next 14 days, with contact having already been made with the club's top targets.
It is understood that West Ham have a shortlist of potential successors to Avram Grant, who was sacked on Sunday following relegation from the Premier League, and a longer list of possible targets should their initial hunt fail.
Leading contenders are Sam Allardyce and Martin O'Neill, who were both in advanced talks previously when West Ham were looking for a manager. O'Neill was even offered the job in January when Grant came close to being sacked. Norwich City manager Paul Lambert is also likely to feature in West Ham's deliberations.
It is understood he has been offered a significant pay increase by the newly promoted club to fend off other offers but there are suggestions he may also be seeking assurances over spending.
Matters are complicated for O'Neill because he is still in dispute with Aston Villa over his departure from the club last September.
Whether O'Neill, Allardyce or Lambert would drop down into the Championship remains to be seen and the expected availability of Dave Jones, after Cardiff City's failure to progress through the play-offs, means he is also likely to be considered.
Jones is known to have impressed the West Ham board in the past with the way he has held Cardiff together and he could soon be a free agent after the Welsh club said last night it would review his position.
Similarly, Neil Warnock, who has taken Queens Park Rangers back into the Premier League but whose future has been questioned, will be monitored. However, it is expected that Warnock will remain after talks with the QPR board.
Chris Hughton would be another contender should West Ham work their way through their list but although he is regarded as an outstanding coach, there may be some doubts over his ability to overhaul and remould the squad.
Given part of West Ham's criteria for a new manager is someone with experience of succeeding in the Championship, then the likes of Swansea City's Brendan Rodgers and Watford's Malky Mackay -- both highly rated young managers -- could also come under consideration.
At the same time, West Ham are also offering new improved deals to a number of their players -- they are desperate to hold onto the likes of Jack Collison and Zavon Hines.
The club have also reiterated their stance that they will only sell their established stars who are under contract if the right offer is made. That includes Scott Parker.
The search for a new manager is key and yesterday co-chairman David Sullivan -- who has flatly refused to confirm any of the names linked to the job -- said that he was "amused" some people had moved to rule themselves out of the running because they have not even been considered.
"We've had approaches by some good candidates but we treat all applications as confidential," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)