ROBERTO MARTINEZ has strengthened his position as favourite for the Hull City managerial job, with the Tigers set to interview a five-man shortlist this week.
Former Everton chief Martinez is now as short as an even money favorite to succeed Steve Bruce who quit his position on Friday and is said to be considering retiring from management as a result.
The Tigers board, meanwhile, have drawn up a five-man shortlist to replace Bruce, which almost certainly features Martinez, with the likes of Steve McClaren, caretaker manager Mike Phelan, Steve Evans, Ryan Giggs, Neil Warnock and Roy Keane all prominent in the betting.
Hull’s move for Wales international striker Hal Robson-Kanu is now on hold after Bruce’s departure and the free agent is now likely to explore all options.
Robson-Kanu is without a club after leaving Reading and will be in high demand after excelling at Euro 2016.
He said: “Steve Bruce is a fantastic manager and it is always nice to be wanted by a manager like him.”
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, are being heavily linked with a move for Aston Villa’s USA international goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Villa have signed Pierluigi Gollini as their new likely first choice ‘keeper and Boro want Guzan to compete for the No 1 jersey with former Barcelona custodian Victor Valdes, whom the Teessiders signed from Manchester United on a free transfer earlier this summer.
On the exit side, Boro striker David Nugent continues to be linked with a move to Derby County but Nugent has said he is relishing the opportunity to fight for his place against Jordan Rhodes and high profile recent recruit Alvaro Negredo.
Winger Adam Reach is also being linked with a move to Reading.
In the Championship, the agent of Hamburg midfielder Albin Ekdal says the midfielder will not be joining Leeds United, contrary to other reports.
Ekdal, who represented Sweden at Euro 2016, played for Whites chairman Massimo Cellino when the Italian was in charge of Cagliari but Ekdal’s agent Martin Klette said: “He would not play in the Championship.”
Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt remains the most obvious next arrival at Elland Road if United and Sunderland can agree a fee and Leeds can overcome the stumbling block of Bridcutt’s wages.
Leeds have also been linked with a move for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Alex Pritchard but he is likely to command a hefty price fee and seems more likely to head to Swansea City who are also interested, along with Middlesbrough and Wolves.
Whites left-back Charlie Taylor, meanwhile, has been linked with a move to West Ham, with a long-term injury to Hammers left back Aaron Cresswell putting the Whites on red alert.
But manager Slaven Bilic will apparently pursue an experienced replacement for Cresswell, rather than swoop for Taylor to join former White Sam Byram in East London.
Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, are leading the race to sign Watford midfielder Almen Abdi who is going to be pushed down the Hornets pecking order by former Rennes recruit Abdoulaye Doucoure.
The Owls benefited from raiding Watford last summer when swooping for Fernando Forestieri and Daniel Pudil and Abdi could be next but the 29-year-old Switzerland international will not be cheap as he still has two years left on his contract.
Elsewhere, Barnsley look set to sign 19-year-old Liverpool winger Ryan Kent on a season-long loan while Rotherham United chief Alan Stubbs is looking looking to the continent to explore potential further incomings for the Millers.
“We’re looking abroad as well,” said Stubbs.
“It’s not just UK-based players that we’re looking at.”
In League One, Bury manager David Flitcroft has slammed Sheffield United’s bids for striker Leon Clarke as “comical and embarrassing.”
The Blades have already had two bids rejected for the front man and are tabling a third but Flitcroft said: “They have come in with an improved offer. The first one was comical, the second one was embarrassing.
“I don’t know where it’s at now.
“I think it has become a bit of a circus and if I wanted to go to a circus then I’d go to Blackpool.
“I think people are playing games behind the scenes at Sheffield United which is very amateurish and very unprofessional.
“It’s something that does go on in football but if I’m being really honest I think there’s a professional etiquette that all managers should keep and all assistant managers should keep.”
Blades star forward Che Adams continues to interest both Birmingham City and Newcastle United with fresh bids likely imminent.
At Doncaster Rovers, centre-back Luke McCullough has signed a new three-year deal with the club whose former striker Nathan Tyson is on trial at Port Vale.
And in National League, York City have completed the signing of former Watford goalkeeper Luke Simpson who impressed on trial and in Saturday’s friendly against Bolton.