LEEDS may be set to hijack Burnley's hopes of luring Ronnie Moore to Turf Moor.

The Rotherham manager has already emerged as one of the main targets to fill the vacant Clarets hot seat.

Although new applications are still not being ruled out, Burnley's board are believed to be settling on a choice of four firm candidates, with Moore sitting atop their cloak-and-dagger shortlist.

But the in-demand Millers boss has now been earmarked as one of leading names in the frame to take over at Leeds, who are in the process of rebuilding following relegation from the Premiership last season.

The financially crippled Yorkshire giants are seeing the club stripped of its main playing assets to slash debts estimated at around £80m.

And with caretaker boss Eddie Gray being shunted sideways to make way for a clean sweep behind the scenes, United chairman Gerald Krasner is looking for a new manager to guide Leeds into a new cost-cutting era.

The firm favourite for the post is believed to be former Sheffield United number two Kevin Blackwell, who ended the season as caretaker manager after serving under Peter Reid and then Gray following his switch from Bramall Lane earlier this year.

But I understand that along with Gordon Strachan, Neil Warnock, Huddersfield boss Peter Jackson - and former Clarets boss Stan Ternent - Moore is being seriously considered following the miracles he has performed at Millmoor on a shoestring budget.

Moore said: "Leeds are a Premiership club with 40,000 fanatical supporters and are known all over the world.

"It is a massive, massive job and for me to be linked with it is pleasing as it proves I'm doing something right."

"I think if you were in charge at Leeds you would want someone who knows what the First Division is all about.

"That's probably why my name has being linked with the job. "

It is believed Rotherham are yet to receive any official approach from either Turf Moor or Elland Road for Moore's services.

Elsewhere, the race to become Burnley boss is narrowing by the day, with Eric Black and Colin Lee no longer in the frame.

Black, currently on holiday in America, would be interested but confirmed he has not even applied for the vacancy.

Speaking exclusively to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, he said: "I am looking for a job at the moment, so Burnley is clearly one I would be interested in.

"But I have had no contact at all with them. In fact, I've not been in touch with anyone at all while I've been on holiday."

Lee, meanwhile, confirmed he has applied for the post, but is still waiting to hear from the Turf Moor boardroom.

And with interviews currently lined up with a view to making an appointment within a fortnight, it seems highly unlikely that either manager is now on the Clarets wanted list.

Intriguingly, Steve Cotterill yesterday severed all ties with Leicester with the aim of getting back into management next season.

Cotterill, who has expressed an interest in managing the Clarets, joined the Foxes on a short-term contract last February as Micky Adams' side battled against relegation from the Premiership.

BURNLEY have scotched rumours that Newcastle are set to swoop for teenage ace Richard Chaplow.

National newspaper speculation has been mounting for some time that the Magpies will pounce for the Clarets midfielder this summer.

One report today claims that Burnley have slapped a £5m price tag on the head of the 19-year-old, who signed a long-term deal last year that ties him to Turf Moor until 2006.

But chief executive Dave Edmundson has laughed off the speculation, insisting there has been no approach from St James' Park.

Edmundson said: "There is no price tag placed on Richard's head because he is quite simply not for sale.

"The chairman has already said that we do not need to sell players like Richard Chaplow and nothing has changed."

Chaplow burst onto the scene last season, scoring five goals for Burnley in 42 appearances and becoming a lynchpin of the team on his debut campaign.