Chris Hughton is ready for a return to management - and hoping for an opportunity at "the highest level possible".

The 52-year-old has been out of work since Newcastle showed him the door in December, with the Magpies lying 11th in the Barclays Premier League table at the time.

Hughton told Sky Sports News: "I've enjoyed the period of time I've had out (of management)... but I feel I've been ready for quite some time. I've always said I'd like to get back in at the right time and at the highest level possible."

Chelsea, Fulham and Aston Villa are all seeking a new manager and Hughton admitted: "I don't think there are many people who wouldn't be interested in those jobs.

"Maybe those clubs will have people in mind but of course I'd be interested in jobs of that calibre. But there is a process that takes place and I'm as aware of that as everyone else."

Hughton led Newcastle out of the Championship last year and may also be on the radar of Cardiff, who sacked Dave Jones on Monday after their hopes of promotion to the Premier League disappeared in the play-offs.

The former Tottenham, West Ham and Brentford defender added: "I would like to think what I've done in the last couple of years would stand me in good stead and that I would be in people's thoughts.

"I want to get back into the game in a management position, I feel I served a long apprenticeship as a number two, which stood me in good stead. For me the most important thing is to get back at the highest level possible - but the calibre of clubs in the Championship is very high."

Hughton added that he enjoyed his time out of the game and felt last season's top flight was "closer than ever".

He said: "There were surprises towards the end of the season but I think the gap between the top and bottom of the Premier League has been closer than ever - and we saw a really competitive Championship too."

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#Tottenham Hotspur
#Fulham
#Football
#Championship
#Chelsea
#Premier League
#Cardiff City
#Newcastle United
#Brentford
#Aston Villa