Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson is closing in on Gordon Strachan’s replacement with Tony Mowbray firmly in the frame.
Gibson insisted in the wake of Strachan’s departure last Monday that he would take his time in identifying the man to take the club forward, and that he would consider a range of candidates despite Mowbray’s standing as overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers and, more importantly, the club’s fans.
It is understood that possibility has moved significantly closer over the weekend and that Boro are now working on the financial aspects of a deal which is complicated by the compensation package currently being paid to the former defender by Celtic.
He is still being paid on a monthly basis by the Bhoys and will be until next year, while the Teessiders’ own budgetary restrictions will be reflected in the wage packet on offer at the Riverside Stadium and the potential for future redevelopment of the squad.
For those reasons there are other options, with former midfielder Paul Ince having been heavily linked with the job over the weekend.
But whatever happens over the next few days, Gibson knows he must get the decision right with the club in severe danger of not only missing out on the promotion upon which their recent financial restructuring was founded, but also of being dragged into an unthinkable fight against relegation.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Norwich was their fifth in six npower Championship games, a run which has yielded just a single point and left Boro inside the drop zone.
They have collected only 11 points from a possible 33 to date and are currently 15 adrift of automatic promotion and 10 shy of the play-offs.
The Teessiders face bottom-of-the-table Bristol City at the Riverside on Saturday with the visitors a single point worse off.