Sam Allardyce, who was thought to be the first-choice candidate for the vacant manager's position at West Bromwich Albion, last night distanced himself from the job.
That could lead to Michael Appleton – currently caretaker manager after the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo – being given the job on a full-time basis.
Roy Hodgson, the former Liverpool manager and Chris Hughton, the ex-Newcastle coach are higher profile candidates, while Sean O'Driscoll of Championship side Doncaster Rovers is also said to be in the running.
West Brom made the shock decision to axe Di Matteo on Sunday following their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City the previous day.
Allardyce, ousted by Blackburn Rovers in December, was an obvious candidate - especially as he had kept Rovers up in 2009 when he took over with the club in a similar predicament to West Brom. The club have lost 13 of their last 18 games under Di Matteo and are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
But a source close to Allardyce said last night: "It's easy to see why Sam would be favourite but he is wary of jumping into a job where things could be stacked against him.
"He is also aware that, while his managerial abilities might be right to help a club lift themselves out of a relegation fight, there is a perception of the way West Brom are supposed to play and a different perception about the way Sam goes about getting the best out of his teams. He wouldn't want to take on a role where he is quickly at odds with things."
Such a conundrum was why Allardyce backed off last month when West Ham United were considering making an approach.
There is also a further complication. Allardyce's agent - Mark Curtis - also represented Gary Megson, a former West Brom manager. Megson's departure in 2004 was bitter and could make it harder for Allardyce to conduct negotiations with the club.
It is understood that Allardyce's preferred option is to wait until a "bigger job" to come along.
Appleton has been put in temporary charge ahead of the weekend's basement battle with West Ham, before they host Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 20, in what could prove to be a pivotal month in their hunt for survival.
Until now Appleton, 35, had worked as an assistant coach under Di Matteo following a journeyman career - which started as a youth player at Manchester United - in the lower leagues.
Some at the club are keen to give Appleton a chance and point to how the low-profile appointment of Steve Kean as Allardyce's replacement at Blackburn has been an initial success.