Chris Nicholl has emerged as the hot favourite to take over at managerless Walsall although an appointment is not likely to be made until the end of the week.
The former Southampton defender, who was manager at Bescot Stadium from 1994 to 1997, looks to have stolen a march on his rivals for the job, including David Platt and David Kelly, as chairman Jeff Bonser looks for the right man to lead the club out of the League One relegation zone.
Bonser is known to have met with Nicholl and sources believe he is about to be named as Paul Merson's successor despite the presence of several more high-profile candidates.
Walsall lost 2-0 at home to Oldham last weekend and have yet to win a match since Merson was dismissed two weeks ago which means Bonser will have to act quickly to relieve the pressure on caretaker Mick Halsall.
But an announcement is not likely to be made today or tomorrow with Halsall due to give the weekly press conference tomorrow morning before Saturday's crucial match at Southend United.
Platt, the former England and Aston Villa midfielder, declared his interest on Monday, having been out of the game for two years, while Merson's own recommendation was Preston North End's assistant manager Kelly - one of Walsall's most famous players.
Nevertheless, the job is likely to go to one of the club's most successful managers. Nicholl led the Saddlers to promotion from the old Third Division (now League Two) in 1995, still lives in the town and is immediately available.
If Nicholl, something of a disciplinarian, is appointed, he will have his work cut out from the off.
Walsall have not won since New Year's Eve and have two of the division's top four teams to play in the next three games.
They have struggled to field a consistent line-up all season, because of injuries and Merson's curious selections, and have fielded nearly 50 players. Keeping the present Saddler vintage in the division might be a bigger achievement than when Nicholl led them to it more than a decade ago.