WEST HAM'S caretaker boss Kevin Keen has admitted it will be 'tough' for him to land the manager's position on a permanent basis.

The Hammers are searching for someone to succeed Avram Grant, who was sacked after last weekend's defeat to Wigan, which led to the club's relegation.

Keen took charge of the final game of the season at home to Sunderland yesterday, in which West Ham are comprehensively beaten 3-0.

The first team coach is in the running for the vacant position, although he is thought to be competing with the likes of Chris Hughton, Sam Allardyce and Martin O'Neill.

“If I'm up against Martin O'Neill, Steve McClaren, Sam Allardyce, Neil Warnock, then it's going to be a tough ask,” Keen said after the Sunderland defeat.

“Because those boys have got a lot of experience, they've got a better record than my losses of two and wins of nil in the Premier League.

“So it's up to the owners. I'm sure whichever way they go, they'll make the right decision.”

Keen accepts the challenge facing the club in the Championship is a difficult one.

“It will be a tough, tough season in the Championship.

“It's more physical than the Premier League – but not as much as it used to be – and there are more games.

“We have fantastic young players here and if we can keep hold of them, we have a fantastic base to build from and we can play the kind of football our fans believe in.”