Bolton manager Sam Allardyce believes the Football Association face a straight choice between himself and Steve McClaren for the England job.
Alan Curbishley, who will leave Charlton at the end of the season, and Martin O'Neill, out of work since leaving Celtic last summer, were also thought to be in contention following the withdrawal of Luiz Felipe Scolari.
But, asked if he believed his only rival to replace Sven-Goran Eriksson was Middlesbrough manager McClaren, Allardyce told Sky Sports 1: 'I'm not quite sure but it appears that way.'
Allardyce admitted he thought he had lost out altogether when FA chief executive Brian Barwick reportedly offered the job to Scolari.
'I have to say I've been disappointed once and thought it was all over,' said the Bolton boss.
'Then lo and behold in the space of 24 hours it turns around. I've always said right from the very start, it's my dream job and I'd believe I'd be very good at doing it at this stage of my life.'
Allardyce revealed he would play to England's strengths if he were to be appointed national boss.
He said: 'If I had Peter Crouch up front at 6ft 7in then I'd play where his strength lies, like we do to Kevin Davies at Bolton.
'But if Michael Owen was playing up front I would play differently.
'Clearly the level playing field that I would be on - above most international teams with the quality players I've got - would mean we would go to outplay them and beat them.
'I don't play on a level playing field in the Premiership because my resources are fewer than most and I have an effective way with the group of players I've got.
'It's not long ball, it's never been long ball and it never will be.
'It's effective, good football which has enabled us to go in the top half of the Premiership for two seasons on the trot.'