Former Reading boss Steve Coppell has ruled himself out of contention for the vacant managerial role at Brighton.
The 54-year-old had been the favourite to take on the job at the Withdean Stadium following the dismissal of Russell Slade in early November.
But Albion chairman Tony Bloom told the Brighton Argus: "Steve was one of the first names to spring to mind, and he would have been a leading candidate.
"But on initial contact he ruled himself out."
Bloom added: "He is enjoying his time out of the game, after leaving Reading last summer, and I think only a very high profile job could tempt him back into football at this time."
Director of football Martin Hinshelwood will still be in charge for Saturday's FA Cup tie at Wycombe.
Broom added: "We have had a high number of quality applicants, and have now refined the shortlist and will continue with the process of evaluating and interviewing the leading contenders."
Coppell's decision will come as a disappointment to Seagull striker Nicky Forster, who played under the former Manchester United winger at Reading, and had expressed a desire to work again with his former boss.
"I admire and respect him not only as a coach but as a person as well. He speaks a lot of sense on and off the field." Forster had told BBC Sussex on Thursday.
"He's an intelligent man and has a proven track record. I think he would be a good acquisition for the club."
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