Allardyce moves ahead of Ince in Blackburn race

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The Independent Online

Paul Ince was still waiting last night to hear if Blackburn Rovers want to discuss the manager's post with him – a situation which seems to make Sam Allardyce the firm favourite – but he will not make a decision on Leicester City's approach until the position at Ewood Park is clear.

Ince would clearly relish the opportunity to manage the club, with his former England team-mate Alan Shearer now out of the picture, and has not given up on the prospect of Rovers hiring him, even though Allardyce is being interviewed next week and appears to be ahead of him.

Ince is not making an outright declaration of interest in the position – sources close to the player stressed last night that he is happy in his position as manager of Milton Keynes Dons – but he evidently relishes the prospect of talking with the chief executive of Rovers, John Williams.

"Blackburn are a great club, with great traditions," Ince said yesterday. "They are a family club and Mark Hughes did a fantastic job there, so we will see.

"Blackburn have to speak to my chairman first. If that happens, we will go from there. I can't make any decisions until I have received a call from my chairman saying Blackburn have asked to speak to me."

As chief executive of the kind of close-knit club which Ince described, Williams will be only too aware that supporter opinion is set firmly against Allardyce – both because of his style of football and his career at neighbours Bolton. But Allardyce's excellent record at the Reebok Stadium seems to be proving a strong counterweight to Williams's mind.

More evidence of Thaksin Shinawatra's sweeping changes at Manchester City emerged yesterday when the club's chief executive Alistair Mackintosh – who was has been in discussions about roles both at Fulham and Arsenal – left his £300,000-a-year post.

The departure of Mackintosh – ironically, instrumental in securing Thaksin as City's owner last year – had an air of inevitability when the Thai's appointee as executive chairman, Garry Cook, arrived in Manchester last week.

Cook told Manchester City staff yesterday morning that Mackintosh would be leaving the club immediately by mutual consent. Sources suggested yesterday that Mackintosh had been offered the Fulham chief executive's job and a senior role at Arsenal, though City could not confirm this.

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