THE next Oxford United manager will be given assurances he does not have to sell any of the current squad.

Darryl Eales is closing in on Michael Appleton’s replacement and aiming to make an appointment at the start of next week.

But the U’s chairman will stress to the new recruit that he will not be put under any pressure to offload any of the existing squad.

Marvin Johnson, Ryan Ledson, John Lundstram, Curtis Nelson and Simon Eastwood are all reported to have attracted interest after producing impressive displays for United last season.

However, Eales confirmed he has not received any enquiries for any under-contract players – although does expect that to change.

“We do not need to sell,” he said.

“If we can keep the current squad together, I would be delighted.

“I can genuinely say that I have had no expressions of interest from anyone, but I can’t think we won’t get enquiries for people.

“I am sure a question I would ask if I was the incoming manager would be ‘is the first thing I have got to do sell players?’.

“The answer to that is unequivocally ‘no’.”

Pep Clotet, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Frank Lampard remain bookmakers’ favourites for the job, with Chris Powell, Alan Stubbs and current No 2 Derek Fazackerley next on the list.

Lampard collected 47 per cent of the votes in a poll on the Oxford Mail website asking who United supporters wanted to be the club’s next boss.

Clotet was next with 23 per cent, with Hasselbaink and Powell in third and fourth places.