Albion chairman Dick Knight has vowed to keep hold of manager Steve Coppell, who is thought to be the top target for Reading.

Sources inside and close to the Royals claim Coppell is the man chairman John Madejski wants most to replace West Ham-bound Alan Pardew.

Pardew resigned when Madejski refused West Ham permission to speak to him.

The matter had to be resolved in the High Court, with Reading receiving substantial compensation for the remainder of Pardew's contract.

Knight said: "I know John Madejski well and, after their recent experiences with West Ham, I would expect Reading to go about an approach in absolutely the correct way, which is to contact me as the chairman.

"I can say categorically there has been no approach and therefore it is not an issue.

"Steve is the Brighton manager, he is under contract and will remain so. It may be some wishful thinking on the part of Reading."

Coppell signed a new one-year contract in the summer after almost rescuing Albion from relegation from the First Division.

The Seagulls go into tonight's Carling Cup tie at Middlesbrough in second place in Division Two.

Coppell was also linked to the West Ham post along with his close friend Pardew, who played under him at Crystal Palace.

Knight said: "I am not surprised there is interest in Steve. He is an exceptionally good manager and I intend that he stays with us.

"His name will always be linked with other appointments but Steve is our manager.

"I think it's a compliment to the club. We are high profile and Steve has undoubtedly done exceptionally well with us. He has enhanced his reputation.

"It was the same with Leon Knight. He was out on loan with three other clubs and did exceptionally well at Huddersfield but that did not generate the same interest as after just a few weeks with us. There were several other clubs interested when we signed Leon permanently from Chelsea."

Other names said to be in the running for the Reading job include sacked Spurs chief Glenn Hoddle, out-of-work former Albion loan signing Steve Cotterill and caretaker Kevin Dillon.