Mickey Lewis takes charge of Oxford United as caretaker-manager for the first time tonight, but he has not ruled himself out of the running to stay in the hot-seat on a permanent basis.

The club officially began the hunt for a new boss yesterday as Chris Wilder was unveiled at Northampton Town.

Chairman Ian Lenagan expects to be inundated by applicants and ex-U’s striker Dean Windass was among the first to apply.

Lewis took training for the first time ahead of the trip to Exeter City in Sky Bet League Two this evening.

Wilder’s former assistant had no hesitation in agreeing to take over the reins on a temporary basis when asked by Lenagan on Saturday night.

The 48-year-old former U’s midfielder knows there will be no shortage of suitable candidates, but admitted the group could include him – if results follow.

He said: “Let’s see what happens. It’s an attractive job being Oxford United manager, I’m sure a lot of people will be interested in it.

“We’ll see how the results go. Without sounding that I’m sitting on the fence, I just want to see.

“It’s something I could be interested in and I want to stay at the club anyway.

“If things go well and snowball, then you never know, but I am really just thinking about the next couple of games, really.

“We’ve got so many in a short amount of time, so I’m just not trying to change too much and just keep working to where we want to be.”

While there will be more experienced managers who put themselves in the frame, Lewis could become a contender if United shine on the pitch.

A congested fixture list means he is likely to be in charge for several games and with 11th-placed AFC Wimbledon the highest-ranked side the U’s face in the next five outings, there is an opportunity to put a run together.

Oxford Mail:

Dean Windass was among the first to apply for the job

Windass remains United’s most expensive player, signed for £470,000 from Aberdeen in July 1998.

He has been looking to get into management for a long time, but with very limited experience, the 44-year-old is likely to be viewed as an outside bet.

The ex-Hull City striker, who did his coaching badges with Wilder, said: “It was a surprise Chris left. I’ve applied and if that interests the club then so be it, but I’m sure there will be more experienced managers than me applying.”