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By ESPN Staff
May 3, 2006

Big Sam: McClaren will be handed England post

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has admitted he expects to be told on Thursday that Steve McClaren is the new England manager.

Allardyce has long coveted the job of replacing Sven-Goran Eriksson and believed he was back in the hunt to fill the vacancy when Luiz Felipe Scolari dramatically withdrew his candidacy last Friday.

However, it now appears Thursday's FA board meeting will be just a rubber-stamping exercise, with McClaren the unanimous candidate among the selection panel headed by chief executive Brian Barwick.

And, while Allardyce has heard nothing official from Soho Square, when the call eventually comes, he believes it will be to tell him he is not getting the job.

He said: 'I don't know anything, I am just guessing but Steve is the favourite and there is no point trying to hide the fact.

'I think the decision will come tomorrow and if it does, I expect it will be in his favour. We will just have to wait and see.'

With McClaren understandably opting to sidestep questions from the media completely given the obvious line of questioning and his inability to provide answers ahead of the ratification, the Middlesbrough manager sent his assistant Steve Round to speak on his behalf.

'Steve has not said anything to us,' said Round.

'As far as I am aware he will be in for training tomorrow and preparing for Sunday's match against Fulham and the UEFA Cup Final next Wednesday.'

Asked whether he felt McClaren would still be at the Riverside at the start of next season, Round diplomatically replied: 'Who knows?

'That is down to the Football Association to decide. As far as I am aware, Steve is contracted to us for another three years unless he tells us otherwise.'

Allardyce's frustration at missing out on the top job was only increased by the sight of his side failing to turn their dominance into a win over the Teessiders at the Reebok Stadium.