Ross and Hurst the two contenders for Ipswich job as Blues close in on appointment... which could come next week

PUBLISHED: 09:30 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:30 23 May 2018

Jack Ross and Paul Hurst are the leading candidates for the Ipswich Town job. Picture: PA

Jack Ross and Paul Hurst are the leading candidates for the Ipswich Town job. Picture: PA

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Ipswich Town are nearing the end of their search for a new manager, with Jack Ross and Paul Hurst the two major players and an appointment possible next week.

Jack Ross remains the favourite with the bookmakers as Ipswich Town search for a new manager Picture PAJack Ross remains the favourite with the bookmakers as Ipswich Town search for a new manager Picture PA

It is understood owner Marcus Evans shortlisted up to nine candidates for the vacancy, but it is now a two-horse race between Ross of St Mirren and Shrewsbury’s Hurst. The Ipswich owner has previously stated he expected to make his appointment at the ‘end of May or beginning of June’ and it’s understood news could come next week.

It would now be a surprise if it was not either Hurst or Ross, although it is believed no firm decision has been made at this stage.

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Ross, who is currently away on holiday, is also thought to be interesting Sunderland while St Mirren have offered him a new deal in a bid to keep a manager who guided them to promotion last season. However, this is not expected to have an impact on Ross’s ultimate decision were he to be offered the job.

Hurst is currently preparing his Shrewsbury side for their League One play-off final clash with Rotherham at Wembley this weekend, with no official approach made to either the Shrews or their manager at this stage. That approach is expected to come in the days following Sunday’s game.

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Frank Lampard was one candidate to have impressed Evans significantly during his two meetings with the Blues owner but Evans is thought to have opted to pursue a manager slightly more advanced in their management career. Evans’ focus has always been on younger managers looking to progress in their careers, but the Blues owner has spoken to potential candidates throughout the game.

Scott Parker, currently working in the Tottenham youth system, and ex-Spurs boss Tim Sherwood were both interviewed, while the likes of Shefki Kuqi, George Burley and former Sunderland boss Simon Grayson were not interviewed despite expressing interest in the job.

Hurst (right) celebrates with goalkeeper Dean Henderson after his side beat Charlton on Sunday to reach the League One play-off final. Picture: PA.Hurst (right) celebrates with goalkeeper Dean Henderson after his side beat Charlton on Sunday to reach the League One play-off final. Picture: PA.

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The Blues received significantly more than 100 applications for the position vacated by Mick McCarthy last month, with a wide range of experienced bosses, recently retired players and foreign managers all putting their name in the hat for the role.

But that search is now reaching an end game.

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