The identity of the man to fill Birmingham City's vacant managerial position will become a lot clearer in the next 24 hours when Alex McLeish returns from South Africa.
The Scotland head coach was in Durban yesterday for the World Cup qualification draw and when he arrives home Birmingham will ask for permission to speak to the former Rangers and Hibernian man.
They face considerable resistance from the Scottish Football Association, however, who last night expressed their intention to not only retain McLeish but extend his contract beyond 2010.
Nevertheless, the SFA are duty-bound, at least morally, to allow the Scot to talk to Birmingham when consent is sought and that could mean the club hit their target of finding Steve Bruce's successor by next Friday.
Bruce will be unveiled, again, by Wigan Athletic today while Eric Black will return to work having met with the Blues board following Saturday's defeat at home to Portsmouth.
After the game Black continued to be cagey about his future and, publicly at least, seemed unwilling to look much further than Sunday's match at Tottenham Hotspur, a fixture from which Birmingham need to take something positive.
They also need to tie down their preferred option. Black remains a genuine contender for the post but, having made pronouncements about hiring some of football's biggest names
like Marcello Lippi and Luiz Felipe Scolari, there is also pressure that the new man should be high profile.
McLeish would fulfil that criteria in part and, speaking after his country was drawn with The Netherlands yesterday, he gave Birmingham some cause for optimism when he expressed a desire to manage in the Premier League - at some stage in his career.
"It is attractive to me in the long-term and may be something I can look forward to," McLeish said. "Who knows, I could be away in two or three weeks or I could be here for the next five years.
"If somebody were to come and make an offer then the SFA would probably have to listen and I'd have to listen, but that hasn't happened."
SFA chief executive Gordon Smith was keen to dissuade Birmingham from enquiring about McLeish, saying: "If we have to address the matter then we will but we do not want that.
"We want to keep hold of Alex and although his current contract takes him beyond the 2010 World Cup, we have already had informal talks with the intention of extending that deal."
What is clear is that the current power vacuum is doing no-one any favours. Birmingham failed to engage Portsmouth on any meaningful level on Saturday and with injuries up front, a weakness in central midfield and the impending departure of centre half Johan Djourou back to Arsenal, things do not look good.
Certainly Djourou's defensive partner and club captain Liam Ridgewell expressed the need for urgency. "We want to meet the new manager and get on with things," Ridgewell said.
"It's a busy time coming up in December and there are some important games as well so the quicker it's resolved the better. I'm sure every Premiership job is attractive nowadays. We're a good team and we deserve to be in this league. We have shown that against teams this year and we will keep on showing it."
It seems as though Black has got the players' backing. Ridgewell positioned himself in the current caretaker's corner when he said: "Of course I'd be happy if Eric got the job. He has been fantastic with the lads, everyone respects him and I'm sure it will be up to him."