COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal has been installed by some bookmakers as a firm favourite to take over at Tranmere Rovers.

The U's boss is being linked with a return to Prenton Park, where he made more than 200 league and cup appearances between 1990 and 1999.

Tranmere are on the hunt for a new boss after their manager Micky Mellon quit the League Two club to take over at Scottish Premiership club Dundee United, on a four-year deal.

Rovers received £120,000 in compensation for the loss of Mellon's services.

And McGreal, who was born in Birkenhead, is now being strongly linked with the position and a return to his former club and the U's divisional rivals.

He has just led Colchester to the League Two play-offs and also the League Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in the club's history.

Sky Bet have made McGreal 1/1 favourite for the job, while The Sack Race also have the U's boss as favourite, at 2/1.

Other names being linked to the Tranmere job are former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler, ex-Southampton boss Nigel Adkins and current number two, Michael Jackson.

However, McGreal is the firm favourite, according to the bookmakers.

McGreal, 48, is still a popular figure at Tranmere, where he rose through the youth ranks and more than 200 appearances as a player between 1990 and 1999 before leaving to join Ipswich Town.

The U’s boss, who was born only a few miles away from Tranmere’s ground, spent nearly a decade in their first team, playing under club legends John King and John Aldridge.

McGreal worked under coach Warwick Rimmer who was in charge of Tranmere’s youth set-up for more than two decades, bringing through the likes of McGreal, Alan Rogers and Jason Koumas.

McGreal has been in charge of Colchester for just over four years, presiding over more than 200 matches.

Working alongside his number two Steve Ball, he led the U's to a sixth-place finish in League Two this season and a quarter-final spot, in the Carabao Cup.

McGreal succeeded Kevin Keen in the JobServe Community Stadium hot seat on May 4, 2016.

He had worked at Colchester since 2009 in the U's academy set-up, prior to landing the top job.

McGreal previously had success with the club’s under-18s, leading them to a league and cup double in 2014.

He then served as their under-21 boss and was interim manager for one game - a heavy defeat at Burton Albion, in November 2015.

The former Ipswich defender then followed in the footsteps of the likes of Joe Dunne and Tony Humes in making the step up from the club's academy coaching ranks, to become first-team manager.