Gethin Jones tipped to join Lorraine Kelly on the Daybreak sofa

Welsh presenter Gethin Jones tipped to join Lorraine Kelly on the Daybreak sofa

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 3 April 2012

He is still recovering from the heartbreak of his recent split from fiance, opera star Katherine Jenkins.

But Gethin Jones is now on the brink of securing a plum role to join Lorraine Kelly as the new anchor on ITV breakfast show Daybreak – after seeing off stiff competition from leading newsreaders.

The Welsh presenter, 34 – who has become somewhat of a heartthrob – screen tested for the show last week with Miss Kelly, 52, and is now the firm favourite to win the job, ITV sources have said.

The Celtic duo: Welsh presenter Gethin Jones is tipped to join Lorraine Kelly on the Daybreak sofa

The Celtic duo: Welsh presenter Gethin Jones is tipped to join Lorraine Kelly on the Daybreak sofa

The Celtic duo: Welsh presenter Gethin Jones is tipped to join Lorraine Kelly on the Daybreak sofa

Despite having no real journalistic or news experience, the former Blue Peter host has beaten off a string of presenters including current Daybreak host Dan Lobb.

The only other person now said to be in the equation is Channel 5 newsreader Matt Barbet.

Mr Barbet, 35, worked with new Daybreak editor David Kermode at Channel 5 – and Mr Kermode is said to be a big fan.

Others who had been in the frame were former BBC Breakfast sports reporter Chris Hollins, who refused to make the move with BBC Breakfast to its new base in Salford, as well as ITV News correspondent Keir Simmons.

Gone, but not forgotten: Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley presented the show last year

Gone, but not forgotten: Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley presented the show last year

But an ITV source told the Daily Mail: 'Gethin screen tested with Lorraine last week and it went extremely well.

'They had great chemistry and it seems like the job it’s all Gethin’s for the taking. Dan Lobb is now out of the picture.

'ITV want to go with someone unexpected, who has a clear connection with Lorraine and is down to earth with the viewers.'

Mr Jones announced his split from millionaire star Miss Jones, in December following a 10-month engagement and both told of their 'heartbreak'.

ITV chiefs will relaunch Daybreak with a huge revamp in September, when Miss Kelly is expected to take over.

The show debuted in September 2010 with Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles at the helm after they joined after a big-money defection from BBC1’s The One Show.

But viewers found Chiles too grumpy and Bleakley, engaged to Frank Lampard, too flashy.

And ratings soon slumped – leaving rival BBC Breakfast to soar and double its viewership.

The pair were axed in November, but are being paid in full for the remainder of their three-year contract, costing ITV 4million.

However, ITV made back some of their money by placing Miss Bleakley, 32, on Dancing on Ice – and are currently searching for a new format for her.

Miss Kelly, who had been presenting her later slot on the show, only agreed to take over the main anchor role after bosses gave into several demands.

She has refused to do the opening hour of the show. Instead, other presenters will front the early section from 6am until the veteran presenter and her co-host take to the air at 7am.

She also insisted that her sidekick departs at 8.30am so she can host the last hour on her own – recreating her current programme, Lorraine.

Those in the frame for the first hour include Kate Garraway and Dan Lobb, the current stand-in presenters, who will be offered the chance to stay with the show.

New editor Mr Kermode is hoping to capitalise on rival BBC Breakfast’s move from London to Salford, with the first show at the new base on April 10.

Critics of the move believe the show will suffer because some high-profile guests may be reluctant to travel to Manchester.