Shepherd denies Roeder is manager

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The Independent Football

Freddy Shepherd, the Newcastle United chairman, has moved to dampen growing speculation that Glenn Roeder has been appointed as the club's new manager.

Bookmakers suspended betting yesterday after a significant run on the 50-year-old, whose nine victories from 13 Premiership games while in temporary charge have resulted in him emerging as a clear favourite to succeed Graeme Souness. The influential local Evening Chronicle claimed that Roeder had been offered the job. "We haven't ruled anyone in or out," Shepherd said.

Roeder is expected to be named as the next manager, not as director of football as was earlier anticipated, following a highly successful temporary stint during which he has guided Newcastle to the brink of a Uefa Cup place, even though they were languishing in mid-table when he took over.

An appointment is likely to follow at the end of the season, with the only stumbling block being Roeder's failure to gain the Uefa pro-licence coaching badge required to accept the job on a permanent basis.

The former West Ham manager was granted an extension to remain in the post until the end of the season following the expiry of his stipulated 12-week caretaker period after the 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle's fifth in a row.

Shepherd's interest in his first choice, Martin O'Neill, has waned as he has seen Roeder transform the fortunes of the club, despite being without the England striker Michael Owen and several other influential players through injury.

The Newcastle chairman remains confident that the Premier League will grant Roeder special permission to take the job even without the pro-licence, after he suffered a brain tumour while taking the qualification three years ago when he was West Ham manager. The club are waiting to receive official confirmation on this matter before making an announcement.

Roeder has strong backing from the Newcastle squad to take over permanently from Souness, who was sacked in February after an unhappy 17 months at the helm.