Watford have turned down Cardiff's official approach to speak with Hornets boss Malky Mackay over the managerial vacancy in South Wales. The Bluebirds have decided the Scot is the perfect replacement for Dave Jones, who was sacked at the end of last season.
However, Watford are keen to retain their manager's services.
"We don't want Malky to leave Watford and we will do everything in our power to keep him at Vicarage Road," said new Hornets owner Laurence Bassini.
Chris Hughton and Roberto Di Matteo have been linked with the role but are also thought to be on the shortlist for the Birmingham job.