STEVE McClaren continues to command strong support in the corridors of power at Newcastle United where he is vying with Patrick Vieira for the manager's job.
Much hinges on the outcome of talks involving Vieira, the Manchester City Under-21 coach, and Lee Charnley, Newcastle's managing director, who hopes to be in a position to name John Carver's successor by the end of the week.
Vieira has made it clear he will leave City for the right managerial position but will join Newcastle only if he is offered certain assurances regarding autonomy, according to the Guardian.
Unless Mike Ashley, Newcastle's owner, has experienced a volte face, this could represent a sticking point as his head coaches have enjoyed limited influence over transfer market activities.
After four years at the Etihad in various non-playing roles, the former Arsenal and France midfielder is close to obtaining his pro licence qualification and feels ready to become a No. 1.
Those in the Newcastle hierarchy championing McClaren's cause are concerned by Vieira's inexperience and fear one of English football's most challenging jobs could prove too big for a first foray into management.
As a former Middlesbrough manager, still living in the north-east, McClaren - sacked by Derby County last week - has the advantage of knowing the region inside out.
The former England manager's record is mixed but the 54-year-old is an excellent training ground coach who won the League Cup and reached the Uefa Cup final with Boro before winning the Dutch title at FC Twente.