OXFORD United are understood to be in the process of agreeing compensation with a club for their manager.

The U’s are on the hunt for Liam Manning’s replacement after the 38-year-old left for Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City last week.

Initial conversations, although broadly informal, took place with applicants at the end of last week, with more formalised interviews occurring in recent days.

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

Ferguson, alongside chief executive Tim Williams, head of recruitment Ed Waldron, and football advisor Derek Fazackerley have been the key figures during the interview process.

READ ALSO: Ex-Derby County coach seen enough to believe something special brewing with U’s

The Oxford Mail understands that the club is in advanced negotiations with one candidate, with only compensation with their club to be agreed.

Of the current bookmakers’ favourites, that would leave Mumbai City boss Des Buckingham and Notts County head coach Luke Williams as the most likely options of managers currently in work.

Oxford-born Buckingham would be a popular choice among United supporters, with the 38-year-old currently in charge of Indian Super League side Mumbai City, following stints with Wellington Phoenix and New Zealand age group teams.

Williams guided the Magpies back into the Football League last season and has got them sitting fifth in League Two this campaign, two points shy of the automatic promotion places.

An alternative to Buckingham and Williams could however be Brighton & Hove Albion first team coach Andrew Crofts.

The 39-year-old rejoined the Seagulls in July 2019 in a player-coach role as part of the Under-21s. He took over the side following Simon Rusk’s move to Stockport County.

Crofts then took on the role of interim head coach after Graham Potter left for Chelsea in September 2022, and became a coach with the first team under Roberto De Zerbi.

This newspaper also understands that Crystal Palace assistant Paddy McCarthy has been interviewed by the U’s.

Approaches for the 40-year-old were reportedly dismissed by Palace earlier in the year when United were looking to replace Karl Robinson.

U’s interim head coach Craig Short meanwhile is due to give the squad a few days off from tomorrow, with no fixture at the weekend due to the home clash with League One leaders Portsmouth postponed due to international call-ups.

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.