John Toshack appears almost certain to step down as Wales boss after spending yesterday in talks at the Football Association of Wales’ headquarters in Cardiff.
The 61-year-old, who has been in charge since November 2004, was downbeat following Friday’s 1-0 Euro 2012 qualifying defeat to Montenegro and Press Association Sport understands the former Real Madrid boss, who took over from Mark Hughes, feels he cannot take Wales any further and will tender his resignation this week.
The only question appears to be whether Toshack will leave the post before or after the double header against Bulgaria and Switzerland next month.
Ryan Giggs is the early favourite with bookmakers to replace Toshack but it is thought unlikely the Manchester United winger would want to take on the role while he is still playing at the highest level.
Under-21s’ boss Brian Flynn and Mark Bowen are among other names being mentioned as Toshack’s potential successors.
There had been optimism this could be the campaign in which the Wales squad came of age but Friday’s performance was a hugely disappointing start.
With England hot favourites to win Group G, Toshack admitted another defeat by Bulgaria next month would leave Wales without “too much chance” of making it to Poland and Ukraine in 2012.
Toshack has overseen a huge change in playing personnel, putting an emphasis on youth and fast-tracking youngsters like Gareth Bale, Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey, Chris Gunter and Jack Collison into the senior side.
That approach has partly been forced on him by the international retirements of players including Robbie Savage, Gary Speed, Ryan Giggs, Jason Koumas and most recently Simon Davies.
Savage, who has been one of Toshack’s biggest critics since a row with the manager five years ago led to him ending his Wales career, called for the former Real Madrid boss to go over the weekend.
Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, the Derby midfielder said: “It is time John Toshack left Wales.
“I think we need a fresh start, fresh impetus. We need to get the crowds back and I think Toshack has to go.
“He has made enough excuses, he has been in the job six years. Judge him on his qualifying campaigns – they haven’t qualified yet and they have got off to a terrible start again.”
Former Wales striker John Hartson has expressed his interest in taking over should Toshack resign.
The 35-year-old, who recently came through a battle with cancer, scored 14 goals for his country in 51 appearances between 1995 and 2005, told talkSPORT he would be interested in the job, despite having no managerial experience.
“Absolutely. There’s nobody that will be more committed and more Welsh than I am,” he said when asked if he would want the job.
“If it was offered to me then obviously I would seriously, seriously think about it. There maybe one or two candidates out there that come before me, I may have to wait my turn, maybe three or four years down the line.
“But if you’re asking me if I would take the job, absolutely. You’d have to be a fool to turn down the national manager’s job.
“The only way you get experience in management is by going into a job, of course I’d be a candidate for the job, but it depends on how seriously they take me.”