Sam Allardyce is the leading contender for the Everton manager’s job.
The Premier League club’s search for a new boss has taken on fresh urgency after Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Southampton.
Caretaker boss David Unsworth told the media on Monday that the board were in “ongoing” talks with a “few” managers.
Asked about Allardyce, Unsworth said: “He’s a top manager but it would be wrong to talk about individuals. I’ve seen the names banded about, all of them are top managers.”
Allardyce, 63, was an early candidate to succeed Ronald Koeman, who was sacked on 23 October, but withdrew after Everton delayed making an offer.
The Toffees, whose pursuit of Watford manager Marco Silva has reached a stalemate, have lost five of their seven games since Koeman left.
‘We need proven recruitment’
Unsworth, who stepped up from his role in charge of the club’s Under-23s, warns the next manager at Goodison Park will need to be given “time”.
“I don’t think there’s a quick fix in football – we need our best players fit and we need proven recruitment in January,” added the former Everton defender.
“We need proven Premier League players who know this great league. We need courage and mental toughness – those who don’t have the bottle need to be honest and come forward.”
The 44-year-old is unsure if he will be in charge for Wednesday’s visit of West Ham.
The former Wigan player has won one of his seven games in charge in all competitions, form that has left the Toffees 16th in the Premier League.
“No coaching course can teach you what I’ve learnt in the last five weeks,” he added.
“It’s been intense. I’ve learnt so many things about myself and the staff but it’s been a great privilege and I’ll never shirk my responsibilities.
“I’m hurting as a proud Everton fan but you should never turn down the opportunity to be Everton manager.”
Owners forced to make swift change
Allardyce has been out of football since leaving Crystal Palace at the end of last season.
He saved Palace from relegation, having left the England job in September 2016 after just one match in charge.
Dutchman Koeman was sacked by Everton after the club slipped to 18th in the Premier League following a 5-2 home defeat by Arsenal.
The need for major shareholder Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright to appoint a manager has become more desperate after a 5-1 home defeat by Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday and Sunday’s thrashing at St Mary’s.
Everton spent more than £140m in the summer but failed to replace top scorer Romelu Lukaku after his move to Manchester United.
They are two points above the relegation places and third-from-bottom West Ham United, who they face at Goodison Park on Wednesday.
Ian Wright, speaking on Radio 5 live’s Monday Night Club:
It took Sam Allardyce time at Crystal Palace to get it together. But you would expect him to get Everton safe.
Everton need to stop conceding goals first and foremost. That’s why they have gone to Sam because they are conceding goals. He is the best candidate for that.
He is the kind of manager Wayne Rooney will respond to. He would utilise him to the best of his ability because he is someone he will respect.
Andy Townsend, speaking on the same programme:
The fans might not be massively excited – and I don’t mean that disrespectfully to Sam. If Marco Silva was coming in, they might feel a tad more excited.
With Sam, the players will get a very clear impression of the way forward. It will be ‘you do what I tell you. it’s as simple as that’.
Sam is very good at organising in a crisis situation and because he makes his own points loud and clear.
If Sam gets the job he will load that team with experienced players – with his big hitters.