CRAIG Deans will remain at the helm of the Newcastle Jets for at least another game as management sift through the candidates to replace Ernie Merrick on a full-time basis.
Deans has been Newcastle's caretaker coach for the past two games, since Merrick's sacking on January 6, and will also oversee Friday's clash with the fourth-placed Phoenix at Wellington's Sky Stadium.
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said officials were still interviewing applicants and dismissed suggestions that a deal with former Welsh international midfielder and Vancouver Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson was virtually done.
Robinson watched the Jets train on Friday and attended Saturday's 2-0 loss to Melbourne City at AAMI Park, sitting alongside McKinna.
McKinna drove the 43-year-old to Sydney airport on Monday for his return flight to Canada. He said he had been "very impressed" with Robinson but people were jumping to conclusions in assuming his appointment was a fait accompli.
"He's put himself out there and wanted to come down for a look, which shows that the guy is keen and committed," McKinna said. "He's been doing his due diligence on the club and the league. He's watched the A-League on TV and wanted to see it for himself.
"I've been very impressed with him. His knowledge, his experience - he knows how a salary cap works and he had a great playing career.
"But at this stage we're still talking to some others."
McKinna said Deans had "done a great job" in tough circumstances and, given the short turnaround, would take the team across the Tasman.
"I'd hope that we might get an agreement this week, but there will be no coach in place before Friday," McKinna said.
"The boys train Tuesday, Wednesday and fly Thursday, then they play on Friday.
"So it's unfair to expect a new coach to come in before the game.
"I can't see how that could happen."
McKinna said Deans had not expressed interest in applying for the position on a full-time basis.
McKinna said Newcastle still believed they could qualify for the play-offs, despite trailing the top six by nine points with 14 games to play.
But he added that there was no urgency to make an appointment.
"This is long-term," he said.
"We don't just want to bring someone in to get us through until the end of this season. Basically we want to give them a chance to come in this season, have a look at the squad, who should be coming and going, and start building a squad for the next few years."
McKinna said Newcastle would not be approaching ex-Wanderers boss Markus Babbel, who became the third A-League coach sacked in a matter of weeks on Monday, after Merrick and Marco Kurz (Melbourne Victory).
Western Sydney's coaching staff will now have a real Novocastrian flavour, after they appointed assistant coach Jean Paul de Marigny to replace Babbel.
De Marigny was set to be Newcastle's head coach for the second A-League season, only to be sacked before a ball was kicked by then owner Con Constantine.
He subsequently sued the Jets and was awarded $165,000 in the NSW District Court. He later returned to Newcastle as assistant coach to Scott Miller during the 2015-16 season.
His assistant coach will be Labinot Halitit, who played 100 A-League games for the Jets and coached their youth team last season.