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Zola leading contender on Hammers' shortlist

Gianfranco Zola has moved into pole position in the race to be the next West Ham manager, as the club have revealed a four-man shortlist for the job.

The former Chelsea midfielder had a second interview in Rome today and club officials are set to make him their top recommendation to the Hammers board on Monday.

Zola reportedly impressed West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury during the interview, and also has the support of club technical director Gianluca Nani.

Roberto Donadoni also impressed but Slaven Bilic's chances look to have receded dramatically after question marks over when the Croatia coach would be available led to some doubts about his commitment.

The final name on the list, Michael Laudrup, is not out of the running yet - Duxbury and Nani will make their final report to the board only after interviewing him tomorrow.

Earlier, club director Mike Lee confirmed Zola and Donadoni were leading candidates.

Lee told BBC Radio Five Live: ''We have a very strong shortlist and it's going to be a tough decision with some exciting candidates.

''From the meetings that have taken place so far the two that have really shone have been Donadoni and Zola.

''We have been surprised and pleased by the number of applications we have had and we are moving towards a short shortlist and ideally have a manager in place in time for the West Brom match next week.

''Slaven Bilic could potentially be on that shortlist but it depends very much upon his availability. If for whatever reason he was not available until January in terms of working with us I'm afraid that will rule him out.''

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