OXFORD United are set to ramp up their hunt for a new head coach this week, as interviews are to take place with applicants.

The U’s are searching for Liam Manning’s replacement, after the 38-year-old quit the club to take over at Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City on Tuesday.

Initial conversations, although broadly informal, took place with candidates last week, however more formalised interviews are due to occur in the coming days.

United chairman Grant Ferguson returned to the UK in the early hours of Friday morning, arriving from Malaysia, where is based, last week.

Ferguson, alongside U’s chief executive Tim Williams, head of recruitment Ed Waldron, and football advisor Derek Fazackerley will be the key figures in conducting interviews and undertaking the quest for a new head coach.

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The latest bookmakers’ frontrunners for the job are Oxford-born Des Buckingham and Notts County head coach Luke Williams.

Other favourites among the bookies include Dean Holden, the former Charlton Athletic manager, ex-Birmingham City boss John Eustace, and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard.

Interim head coach Craig Short has overseen two wins in charge of United, against Chelsea Under-21s in the EFL Trophy, and Leyton Orient in League One.

The former Blackburn Rovers defender has previously said he expects the replacement for Manning to take charge for the build-up to the trip to Cheltenham Town on November 25, the next game for the club.