Keith Millen's spell in caretaker charge of Crystal Palace may extend to Saturday's trip to West Bromwich Albion as the Premier League's bottom club explore their options before appointing a successor to Ian Holloway at Selhurst Park.
Tony Pulis remains Palace's preferred candidate for the vacant position, though the co-chairman Steve Parish faces a daunting task to persuade the former Stoke City manager to take up the reins.
Pulis is understood to be open in principle to the prospect of returning to top-flight management at the south London side but was earning in the region of £1.5m a year at the Britannia Stadium and is likely to seek a similar salary, with an associated bonus should he retain Premier League status.
That wage is well in excess of what Holloway, who departed Palace last week citing exhaustion and an inability to inspire a radically revamped squad, had collected over his 11-month spell at the club and will test the hierarchy's desire to recruit a manager who has never been relegated over a 21-year coaching career that has taken in spells at six clubs.
Further contact between the parties is anticipated this week, but resolution one way or the other may drag beyond Saturday's trip to The Hawthorns, leaving Millen, who oversaw Saturday's 2-0 home loss to Arsenal, in charge for the foreseeable future.
Palace, who have lost eight of their nine league fixtures this term, had originally hoped to appoint a manager with extensive Premier League experience in the hope he might inspire the team to haul themselves off the foot and out of their current run of six successive defeats. Parish has since publicly intimated that he and his board may have to consider a combination of a young, up-and-coming coach with an older head as director of football – he had a similar kind of arrangement with Dougie Freedman and Lennie Lawrence, who departed for Bolton a year ago – as an alternative, particularly if agreement cannot be reached with Pulis.
The likes of Neil Warnock, who had worked under the previous owner, Simon Jordan, at Selhurst Park, has been mentioned although his Premier League experience is actually limited and he is enjoying work in the media following his departure from Leeds last season. Parish is expected to consult the former Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers manager to seek advice over his next move. Gary Megson and Alan Curbishley, however, would be interested in the position.
Palace are aware that time is short if their first Premier League campaign in nine years is not to be condemned to failure even at this early stage, hence Parish's desire to target a manager who is free and available. Otherwise, the Newcastle manager Alan Pardew would be a serious contender for the role.
There was some better news for Palace after their captain, Mile Jedinak, agreed a new long-term contract. The Australia international has been one of the team's more impressive performers this season and his deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign.