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Oxford United chairman Ian Lenagan tonight told the Oxford Mail that he will take his time over appointing the next manager - and has urged fans to stay patient.

The U's chief says that around 50 applications to replace Chris Wilder have already been received, and that he is extremely pleased with the quality of those applicants.

Mickey Lewis will stay in charge of the team on a caretaker basis, and will lead the team for "the next few weeks" as the process to find a successor continues.

Lenagan added that he was expecting there to be a bit of doom and gloom around the United training ground on Monday morning, but could not believe the 'buzz'.

United's chairman said: "We are not in a rush.

"We have to make the right decision rather than a quick decision.

"When Chris Wilder came in, there was a need for haste. But we got that decision right. This time it is extremely important we take our time and find the right man that can lead us forward and take us to the next level.

"We have had dozens and dozens and dozens of applicants, around 50 if I had to put a figure on it, and we have not advertised the job."

Lenagan admitted that a 'sporting director' role is a possibility, but at this stage did not want to rule anything in or out.

He added: "Of the applications I have received, around a third are for that role, and at this stage it's important to keep all options open.

"I was at the training ground on Monday and the buzz around the place was there for all to see.

"I was fearful there might be doom and gloom, but the mood up there - that was noticed by everyone - was for all to see.

"And then the performance on Tuesday, when you could see that the players were all right behind Mickey Lewis and doing their all to maintain this away run at Exeter was so very positive.

"There was a split between the pros and antis with Chris which made it difficult for him, but what I would now urge is the fans who were maybe staying away, come back and get right behind Oxford United as we look to maintain that gap between the chasing pack and hopefully not only cement a play-off place, but push for that top three as well."