No Hughes approach... yet

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Blackburn Rovers said yesterday that they had not received an approach from Newcastle United for Mark Hughes. With Newcastle having been contacted by other interested parties and without a specific time frame to appoint a replacement for Sam Allardyce, tomorrow's game at home to Stoke City in the FA Cup and Saturday's league game against Bolton may pass before a new manager is installed at St James' Park.

The Newcastle chairman, Chris Mort, continues to speak to possible candidates and their representatives, a selection process Mort would like to be as broad as possible. Newcastle said on Saturday that Harry Redknapp, the Portsmouth manager, was one of only several people who had been sounded out. Alan Shearer's name remains prominent on Tyneside but he will not be offered the job, Newcastle reiterated yesterday.

The club's owner, Mike Ashley, reportedly returns from the Far East today, but it is Mort who is now firmly in control of the process. Ultimately it was Mort who dismissed Allardyce.

Hughes remains the favourite and his unwillingness to dismiss speculation around him on Sunday conveyed the impression that he would leave if offered the opportunity at Newcastle.

Ashley has referred to wanting to bring back the heady days of Kevin Keegan in the mid-Nineties. "I'm not ruling myself in or out," Keegan said. "It's a club I love and that's all I'm prepared to say."