John Ward has emerged as an early candidate to replace Glenn Hoddle as Wolverhampton Wanderers manager following the former England chief's surprise resignation on Saturday afternoon.
It looked as though Ward, who won three of his four games in charge as caretaker-manager at Molineux in 2000, would be ruled out of contention after apparently signing a five-year deal at Cheltenham Town.
However, it has come to light that the 55-year-old has yet to sign his new contract at Whaddon Road and, therefore, could be the ideal man to work under Wolves' new financial restraints.
Ward performed a minor miracle last season when he guided the Robins to promotion from League Two on a miniscule budget.
It is the third occasion he has delivered such a feat during his managerial career, after successfully guiding Bristol City and their cross-town rivals Rovers through promotion campaigns.
Yesterday's proposed meeting between Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey and Hoddle, where the former was allegedly going to ask the latter to reconsider his decision, was postponed, leaving only a slim chance that Hoddle will return.
Paul Ince has also been touted heavily as a replacement with his agent, Steve Kutner, publicly stating that the midfield player would like to test himself in a managerial role.
Ince's elevation into the hot seat would certainly be the populist choice but, providing he can be tempted from Whaddon Road, Ward could prove to be a shrewd appointment.
Not only does he have a history of working with frugal budgets, he is admired as an excellent coach and also has Keith Downing as his assistant. A former Wolves midfield favourite, Downing was well-respected as both an Academy and reserve-team coach at Molineux.
Stern John has yet to report back for pre-season training with Coventry City after failing to contact Sky Blues manager Micky Adams since Trinidad and Tobago's World Cup exit.
Coventry are due to fly to the United States tomorrow as their pre-season, which started last week, steps up a level.
Jay Tabb, Robert Page, Elliott Ward and Mikkel Bischoff all reported for their first day at Ryton yesterday but John was conspicuous by his absence and he won't be part of the squad that travels to Portland, Oregon.
"Stern played in the World Cup and I have had no contact with him since," said Adams tersely.
"I don't want to comment, other than I have had no contact with him since Trinidad & Tobago were knocked out of the World Cup.
"He wasn't due back at any stage. I thought he would have rung me and asked me when he was in. He's contracted to Coventry City, so he is part of the plans."
Nevertheless, Adams' planning for next season continues apace, irrespective of John's extended summer break. He has made a centre-forward his priority, along with another goalkeeper, to add to the seven new signings he has already acquired.
Yet he has been forced to admit defeat with Francis Jeffers, despite the striker agreeing terms and passing a medical last week. The former Everton, Arsenal and Charlton Athletic player has joined Blackburn Rovers.
"We had agreed terms and everything with his agent and Francis, who had passed his medical, and was happy," added Adams. "Then he gets a call from Blackburn Rovers. These things are never done until they get signed."
Adams also confirmed that a provisional agreement had been reached with Clayton Ince that allowed the goal-keeper to leave the Ricoh Arena on a free transfer.
* Millwall have made ex-West Bromwich Albion midfielder Derek McInnes their tenth signing of the summer. The former Rangers player joins from Dundee United. ..SUPL: