Oxford United are keeping an open mind about what happens next as they start the search for a new manager this morning.

It is more than five years since the club was in this position and chairman Ian Lenagan will be looking at several options.

The orthodox approach would be to appoint a successor for the rest of this season, plus at least 12 months on top of it.

But as there are only just over three months of the season remaining, an alternative would be to bring in someone on a short-term basis until May.

It would have the flexibility of allowing United to part ways if the new man could not convert a decent position into promotion, but may put off some potential candidates.

The only certainty is the decision will not be made with haste.

Lenagan said: “The answer is when we find the right one we’ll put him in place – there’s no great rush as far as Oxford is concerned.

“I think there are two ways of going forward. One of them is a short-term interim position and the next one is to the end of the season and beyond.

“If we can find the right person quickly to take over for the rest of the season we’ll do that, but I’m not concerned or frightened with the people we’ve got around at the moment, across the whole club we have some excellent coaches.

“I think we’re in a great place with a good squad where we can do well.”

The third route would be to retain the status quo and keep Mickey Lewis in caretaker charge all the way until the end of the season.

It may be an attractive option if United get results in the next couple of weeks.

Lenagan said: “I can foresee a number of different options.

“I was hoping we wouldn’t be in this position, but that’s one of the things we start to discuss now in terms of where we go forward. It might be a caretaker.

“Mickey and Andy Melville are more than capable, (youth team coach) Chris Allen is a good person to have around in terms of coaching abilities.”

Wilder’s contract with United was due to expire at the end of the season and a lack of security was a key reason behind his desire to look else- where.

It was cited at the time of his interview with Portsmouth last month, after which Lenagan told the Oxford Mail talks over an extension would begin in the new year.

They had not begun by last Friday, but the U’s owner claimed they were due shortly.

He said: “I was the one who said eight months ago I think he’s a very capable manager and he can be better.

“But he is obviously very concerned about his family and making sure that they’re taken care of.

“Yet the time is not yet right for me to be offering him a renewed contract.

“It would’ve been within the next couple of months, certainly.

“In fact probably earlier than that, it was a pity the Portsmouth thing came about because the last thing you want to do is be forced into a contract extension.

“We don’t operate like that as a board of directors.”