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Davies in pole position for Charlton post

Preston boss Billy Davies has emerged as the front-runner for the vacant Charlton manager's job after an approach to speak to Colchester's Phil Parkinson was rejected.

The Addicks approached North End after England Under-21s and Hull chief Peter Taylor pulled out of the selection process, stating he preferred to stay with the Championship club.

Davies has guided Preston to the play-offs in the last two seasons to enhance his reputation and the Lilywhites granted him permission to speak to the Premiership club about replacing Alan Curbishley.

Preston chairman Derek Shaw confirmed: 'The club felt that if permission had not been granted, like is often the case, things could have turned sour so we felt it was in the best interests of both parties to allow talks to take place.'

However, Colchester, who were promoted to the Championship this season, turned down the Addicks' request to hold talks with Parkinson.

'In view of recent speculation surrounding approaches from other clubs regarding Phil Parkinson, Colchester United can confirm that they have refused permission for three clubs to speak to the manager,' said a statement.

'The Us have refused approaches from Premiership team Charlton Athletic, as well as Championship sides Ipswich Town and Derby County - a position which all three clubs have accepted.

'Whilst recognising that Mr Parkinson must have ambition for the future, it is vital we look to retain him for the future interest of everyone connected with Colchester United at this critical stage.

'Mr Parkinson has been kept fully aware of all developments during this past week.'