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By ESPN Staff

Middlesbrough refuse to rule out Venables move

Middlesbrough have played down reports that Terry Venables could be unveiled as their new manager at the weekend.

The Teessiders have been speaking to the 63-year-old over the vacant job at the Riverside Stadium but, with chairman Steve Gibson and chief executive Keith Lamb out of the country this week, no announcement is imminent.

'We will be beginning the search for a new manager at the weekend, not unveiling one,' Lamb told BBC Sport. 'We are ruling nothing in and nothing out at the moment.

'It's completely unrealistic to think we will have anyone in place by the weekend.

'Steve and I only arrive home on Friday and as you would expect, we will be heavily involved in the recruitment of a new manager.

'Steve McClaren only left us on Monday. We want to get someone in place sooner rather than later because there's a lot of work to be done in pre-season. But nothing's been decided yet.'

Venables has emerged as favourite to succeed McClaren in recent days, and there has been contact between the two parties.

Martin O'Neill and Alan Curbishley have also held talks with Boro, but Venables' links with the club - he spent six months on Teesside working alongside Bryan Robson at the end of the 2000-01 season - could prove decisive.