Sunderland could sack Lee Johnson this week after holding talks over bringing in a replacement, Football Insider understands.
The final decision has not yet been made on whether to end the reign of Johnson just six months after it began.
But a Sunderland source has told Football Insider that the manager’s position is hanging by a thread following the club’s play-off heartache.
New owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus will make up his mind in the next few days whether to part ways with Johnson.
It is believed that potential replacements have already been sounded out behind the scenes.
Johnson only took charge on a permanent basis last December following the dismissal of Phil Parkinson.
He guided Sunderland to a spot in the play-offs after a strong run had given hope they would secure one of the two automatic promotion spots.
But the Black Cats ended their League One campaign poorly and were then beaten by Lincoln City in their two-legged play-off semi-final.
Johnson admitted afterwards he and the players were “devastated” and he was then confronted by furious supporters after the match over their promotion failure.
It means another season in League One for the north-east giants, who have not been in the Championship since 2017-18.
Johnson could now leave a second club in consecutive summers after his four-year reign at Bristol City ended in July 2020.