Paolo di Canio and Roberto di Matteo have emerged as frontrunners to replace Brian McDermott as the new manager of Premier League strugglers Reading.
It follows confirmation from the club on Monday that 51-year-old McDermott, who joined Reading in 2000 as a scout/coach working under Alan Pardew and Steve Coppell and last season won promotion to the top flight, had left off the back of a fourth straight defeat.
January's manager of the month told the Reading Post that he was "devastated" when he was told his 13-year association with the club was over.
Reports now suggest club officials have sounded out former Chelsea manager di Matteo about joining on a short-term basis to help stave off the threat of relegation. The Italian left Stamford Bridge in November - just six months after guiding the west Londoners to Champions League glory. The 42-year-old can be backed at 3.75 in the next permanent manager market.
Madejski Stadium owner Anton Zingarevich is also said to be interested in di Canio, who left Reading's rivals Swindon Town last month. The former West Ham favourite is available to back at 1.66 in the betting.
Other leading candidates include former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins (8.00), Coppell (21.00), the current Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson (17.00), Alan Curbishley (21.00) and Mark Hughes (26.00).
Academy manager Eamonn Dolan will take charge of first-team training ahead of Saturday's game away to Premier League title-chasers Manchester United.
A club statement read: "Eamonn Dolan, head of our hugely successful Academy, will assume responsibility for first team matters going into our next Barclays Premier League fixture away to Manchester United."
Reading are quoted 1.12 in the Premier League relegation outright betting and 1.72 in the to finish bottom market.
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