DEREK Fazackerley looks set to be given another three games in caretaker charge with Darryl Eales stressing Oxford United were in the middle of a detailed process to find the right manager.

The U’s chairman felt moved yesterday to correct reports David Unsworth had turned down an offer to succeed Pep Clotet.

Eales rubbished those claims and denied the Everton Under 23 coach was their top choice.

Unsworth is one of at least three candidates who have spoken with the club’s board, but nothing is imminent.

And with the U’s playing three games in eight days starting at home to Bristol Rovers on Saturday, it is highly unlikely a decision will be made until after Plymouth Argyle’s visit on February 17.

It gives Fazackerley, who won his first Sky Bet League One match in caretaker charge 3-2 at Charlton Athletic last weekend, time to make an impression.

“At the end of the day, the needs of the team come first and with three games in a week that has to be the most sensible solution,” Eales said.

“We’ve made no decision and nobody has been our No 1 target in that sense, because it would be disrespectful to the process.

“We will take our time.

“The bar has to be someone who we feel fits with the club and will do a better job than Faz.”

Eales (left) added: “We asked permission to speak to Unsworth as one of a number of highly- capable candidates.

“We’ve had meetings with several people and the process continues, but at no stage was Unsworth our No 1 candidate and we’ve made no offer to anybody.”

After Clotet was sacked within seven months of being appointed, United are keen to do all they can to make sure whoever takes over is in place for the long-term.

Eales said: “We’re just trying to make sure we get the right fit with the philosophy of the club.

“That probably needs more than one meeting with people.

“That’s why it will take a bit longer, because we want to make sure we go in with our eyes wide open.

“I would reassure people there’s lots of work going on.

“We’re trying to be as rigorous as we can to get the fit right.

“The most important thing is we’re trying to put the needs of the team first and we’re very happy with Faz.”

With Unsworth no longer in the frame, the new odds-on favourite is Craig Bellamy, who narrowly lost out to Ryan Giggs for the Wales job last month.

There is a connection with the club’s board, after the 38-year-old appeared on Sky Sports with U’s director David Jones last week.

The ex-Newcastle United and Manchester City forward has been working as Cardiff City’s player development manager since December 2016.