JIM Smith will be instrumental in the appointment of Oxford United's new manager.

The Bald Eagle, the two-times former U's boss who has been appointed caretaker-manager while the search goes on for Darren Patterson's replacement, has admitted he will have a significant part to play in choosing and interviewing those that are short-listed.

Fellow directors Kelvin Thomas, the chairman, and Nick Merry, will be tapping into Smith's experience and vast knowledge of football to ensure they get the right man.

"Obviously Kelvin and Nick – Kelvin in particular – will be involved, but I'm very instrumental at the moment in who we will interview," he said.

"There's no doubt about it . . . 90 per cent of managers in the top echelon of non-League football would swap their job for this one, regardless of where they are in the league.

"Nigel (Clough) would never leave Burton, but nearly all the others would.

“I think there would be quite a few who would come out of League Two as well because of the potential here."

Smith has been preparing the players for their first game under his temporary stewardship, at Mansfield tonight – a game live on Setanta.

And he has made it clear he doesn't want the job full-time.

"I wouldn't take the job," he stressed, though he did add, tongue-in-cheek, "but if we win five games on the trot I might do!"

But the 68-year-old has found it odd being back at the helm, and having last month spent a couple of weeks in Spain, he wasn't too impressed about the climate on his first day back.

Asked what his first impressions were on his first day back on the training ground on Monday, Jim replied: "Cold!"

He added: "The first morning, I've got to be honest, I thought 'What am I doing here?' It was very cold.

"The second morning was better and I got into it a bit more.

"I certainly didn't expect to come back, and I didn't want to really.

"I found it a bit difficult at first, but Mickey (Lewis) has helped me a lot and as the week's progressed, I've got more into it.

"But I want, and Kelvin wants, to have the right guy in place pretty soon."