Paul Jewell is favourite to take over as Ipswich Town manager after Roy Keane was sacked by the Suffolk club, ending the Irishman's second unsuccessful spell in management.
Keane, who had previously been in charge at Sunderland for two years, was dismissed on Thursday night after a run of 10 defeats in 14 games left the Ipswich in 19th place and just three points clear of the Championship drop zone.
The Irishman, who won just 28 of his 81 games in charge, accepted he had not reached the standards he set himself and the stated target of achieving promotion within his two-year contract. "I'm hugely disappointed to be leaving Portman Road," he said.
"Results haven't been as good as I'd have hoped so far this season and when results aren't good the manager gets the sack – that's the game.
"However, I have a genuine belief that we were making progress and that the players have what it takes to turn this season around. We were preparing well for our visit to Chelsea on Sunday and then our Carling Cup semi with Arsenal.
"Getting to that semi proves what I know the team is capable of. I was also working hard to build the squad during the transfer window, looking at our options to attract new players to the club.
Simon Clegg, the chief executive, dismissed claims that Keane was leaving Ipswich "in a mess" and added: "We have taken the decision to terminate his contract now, half-way through the season, and we now have a real and meaningful opportunity to improve our position up the Championship table.
"Whilst we recognise we are only three points off the relegation zone, we are looking up towards the play-off zone and not down."
Clegg also insisted Keane had been given ample time to succeed: "In the best traditions of the club, we wanted to give Roy Keane sufficient time to get things right and to improve the situation," he said. "However, as he has said himself on a number of occasions, the performances on the pitch since November simply haven't been good enough.
"Despite investment in the playing staff there was a lack of improvement on the pitch and the results speak for themselves.
"We all carry a degree of responsibility for this failure and I include myself in this, but I am absolutely convinced that with a new manager we will be able to achieve the objectives and goals we have set for the club. Ultimately results have to rest on the shoulders of the manager and as Roy has frequently said himself, the table doesn't lie."
Gary Megson and Chris Hughton have also been linked with the vacancy and Clegg said an appointment would be made soon, with the Carling Cup semi-final looming.
He said: "I hope to be in a position to make an announcement regarding the new manager over the coming days and I can assure you that he will have the support and the resources available to help him to achieve the objectives we have set for this club."
After guiding Wigan Athletic into the Premier League in 2005, Jewell left in May 2007 and went on to manage Derby County. Jewell's last game as manager at Derby was the 1-0 defeat by Ipswich at Pride Park at the end of 2008. He has also managed Bradford City and Sheffield Wednesday.
Ian McParland is in charge of preparing the team for their FA Cup third-round tie at Chelsea tomorrow. The former Notts County manager was appointed as a coach by Keane last year.