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By ESPN Staff

Trio in the frame for Derby post

Derby County chairman Adam Pearson has revealed the club have drawn up a shortlist of three candidates for the managerial post vacated by Billy Davies on Monday morning.

Davies parted company with the Rams after enduring a difficult start to life in the Premier League and Pearson is moving swiftly to replace the fiery Scot.

MK Dons manager Paul Ince is the bookies' favourite to get the post with former Rams' coach Steve McClaren, who was sacked as England manager last week, also reportedly in the frame.

While Pearson refused to be drawn on the three candidates, he was keen to stress they all have the necessary qualities to make the club a force in the Premier League.

'There are three serious candidates and that's about as far as I'll go,' he told Sky Sports.

'We've got a shortlist and we'll be working through the shortlist tomorrow.

'If the candidate is in work then we'll be contacting their club and if they are out of work then we'll be contacting their agent.

'It's a very tight list of people who we think can put the pride back into the team and the club. We'll be making the decision very promptly.

'We're talking about names that we think are exciting and will take the club forward and put it back on the front foot.'

Earlier on Monday League Two outfit MK Dons moved swiftly to distance Ince from speculation linking him with a move to the east Midlands club.

'Paul Ince is the hottest young manager in English football and it comes as no surprise that his name continues to be linked to managerial posts in higher divisions,' the club said a statement.

'A manager of Paul's profile inevitably attracts speculation of this nature but we will not allow it to compromise the excellent start Paul and the team have made to the season.'

Pearson is confident that the new man will be in place before Saturday's crucial clash with relegation rivals Sunderland.

But should the process drag on into next week then the club's academy boss, Kevin Thelwell, is on standby to take the reins for the visit to the Stadium of Light.

Pearson said: 'The team will be prepared in obviously a different manner but it will be a normal, professional manner.

'We will go up to Sunderland and I have just said to the players that I expect us to be good enough to compete there.'