MARK Wright heads a list of several big names who have all said they want to become the next Oxford United manager.

The former Oxford United, Derby County, Liverpool and England central defender, who hails from Dorchester-on-Thames, says he would love the chance to succeed Malcolm Shotton, who resigned on Monday.

Others showing an interest or believed to be in the running to become United's 14th post-War manager are Mark McGhee, Nigel Spackman, ex-U's boss Denis Smith and the current caretaker manager Mickey Lewis.

Wright, 36, admitted: "I would love to be given the opportunity to sit in front of Mr Kassam and his fellow directors and put my case.

"I'm young, ambitious, I've just passed my coaching badges and I've obviously got very good contacts in the game."

He added: "I'm also an Oxford lad who started off at Oxford United, so it's a job that would be very dear to me." Wright grew up in Dorchester-on-Thames, where his parents still live and his brother Carl plays rugby locally for Littlemore.

The centre half played nearly 450 games in English football's top flight and has recently been involved in coaching seminars with Don Howe and Jim Smith.

His playing record - he played nearly 450 times in the top flight and was voted in a World's Best XI after his outstanding displays for England in the 1990 World Cup - speaks for itself.

Former Wolves boss McGhee, who was in the frame for the Reading job last month, is known to be keen to get back into management and it's claimed he would work without a contract, if need be, until the end of the season, for a chance to prove himself.

Spackman, who lives near Andover, has been doing a lot of media work with Sky TV, and is reported to know Kassam.

He was considered a very bright young manager at Sheffield United but parted company after disagreements about the lack of money to spend on players.

Story date: Wednesday 27 October

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