Hayden Mullins admits he would love to step in and take the Watford head coach role on a permanent basis.

The Hornets’ Under-23 coach took charge as interim boss for the first time during Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester City.

Initially the Premier League club intended to make an imminent decision on Quique Sanchez Flores’ successor but this plan has stalled and Mullins will lead Watford for the second time against Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

The Hornets are understood to have held talks with a number of coaches including Chris Hughton and Paul Clement but their intention to make a swift appointment has fallen through with several candidates thought to have turned down the role. This has led to Watford considering making a short-term appointment until the end of the season with their Premier League future in severe jeopardy.

It is believed the club’s board are also keen to appoint a home-based head coach and Mullins has reportedly been backed internally by a number of the squad’s players. A victory against Palace this weekend could strengthen Mullins’ case and may persuade the club to hand him the reins on a longer basis.

When asked if he would consider taking on the role permanently, Mullins said: “If they came to me and there was an offer like that, obviously I work for the football club and I’d love to step in and do the role if they needed it.

“Like I say, at the moment I work for the football club and doing the role they need me to do at this time.”

It appears the Premier League’s bottom side are no closer to announcing a permanent replacement for Sanchez Flores but Mullins has welcomed the unexpected challenge to coach in the top flight.

Mullins, who has been working at Watford since 2016, said: “I’m comfortable doing the role. As long as they need me to do it I feel comfortable doing it. I’m enjoying it and it’s fantastic.

“As far as I know I’m in charge for the weekend so we’re preparing for the Crystal Palace game. It’s a short space of time and the turnover is quite tight. Today the squad are on a bit of recovery and then half the group train so we’ll have to see who came out of the game with scrapes and bits and pieces tomorrow.”

Mullins added: “At the moment I just work for the football club. In terms of me being the long term manager, it’s a situation where I just need to keep working and doing the job I’m given at this moment. It’s down to the board to decide. Coming in daily and working with the first team is fantastic and something I love and really enjoying.”

The Hornets have been widely written off with the team seven points adrift of safety after just one win from 15 matches.

But Mullins remains upbeat about the team’s prospects and insists no-one at the club is ready to concede defeat in their fight to avoid relegation.

Mullins said: “I think we’ve got to believe. There’s a massive chunk of the season left and we have to believe. Anything can happen and we’re going to be positive until someone says we can’t do it.

“We just need all the boys to believe. This is the standard we need [Leicester] from now until the end of the season to stay in games and try to affect the opposition.”