REMI Garde is set for further talks with Newcastle United after meeting club officials over the vacant head coach post.
Garde is the frontrunner to succeed Alan Pardew at St James’s Park.
But the 48-year-old is understood to favour taking the job on in the summer, having planned to take a year-long sabbatical from the game.
Garde held informal discussions with managing director Lee Charnley in London over the weekend.
Newcastle, also linked with Tim Sherwood, have also sounded out a number of other candidates since Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr drew up a shortlist for the job.
And Garde – interested in re-starting his coaching career in England after a sabbatical from the game – has NOT yet been offered the job.
A number of other potential candidates, including St Etienne’s Christophe Galtier, Derby County’s Steve McClaren and Ajax’s Frank de Boer, have publicly ruled out leaving their clubs midway through the campaign.
Caretaker manager John Carver, meanwhile, is likely to still be at the helm for Saturday’s home game against Southampton.
Carver, departed manager Alan Pardew’s No2, took charge for the third time on Saturday, when Newcastle were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in front of club owner Mike Ashley.
The 49-year-old could even be put in interim charge until the end of the season, depending on the outcome of discussions with Garde – who left Olympique Lyonnais last summer – and other candidates.
Garde, however, is the odds-on favourite to take the job with bookmakers. Ex-Tottenham Hotspur coach Sherwood, out of work since leaving White Hart Lane last summer, is the second-favourite.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Under-21s will take on Bolton Wanderers at Whitley Park tonight (7pm).
Jonas Gutierrez, back playing after being given the all-clear following treatment for testicular cancer, could play.