West Bromwich Albion's hopes of appointing Sam Allardyce as their new manager appear to be increasingly slim, amid reports the former England manager is keen to return to international football.
The Baggies sacked Tony Pulis on Monday (20 November) after a dismal run of results left them just one point above the relegation zone after four consecutive defeats in the Premier League, a competition in which they are without a win since the end of August.
The Welshman's assistant Gary Megson, who managed West Brom between 2000 and 2004, has been appointed as caretaker and will take charge of the Baggies' trip to Wembley Stadium to face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday as the club looks for Pulis' replacement.
Allardyce, who has not managed in the Premier League since guiding Crystal Palace to safety last season, had emerged as one of the candidates to take over at The Hawthorns.
Aside from his reputation for steering clubs away from troubles, the 63-year-old was thought to be a a strong contender for the job having worked with Baggies' chairman John Williams during his spell at Blackburn Rovers and hails from nearby Dudley.
However, according to the Mirror, the former England manager is eager to manage an international side again and is unlikely to open negotiation with West Brom, who are currently fourth from bottom in the league.
Last week, Allardyce ruled himself out of the running for the vacant Everton job, after it emerged the Toffees saw him as a short-term fix, while the former Sunderland and Bolton manager was thought to be keen on a much longer deal, which could have potentially included two more seasons after the current campaign.
Allardyce's alleged withdrawal could open the door for other candidates, including Nigel Pearson and Alan Pardew.
The former, who is currently employed by Belgian Second Division side OH Leuven, knows the club well after serving as assistant to Bryan Robson at The Hawthorns between 2004 and 2006, while the latter is still looking for a job after being sacked by Palace in December last year.
The 56-year-old would certainly be welcome by West Brom's technical director, Nicky Hammond, who was given his first coaching role by Pardew, when the latter was in charge of Reading.
Pardew has reportedly told some of his friends that he would be willing to "take the handbrake off" off a West Brom side that has been heavily criticised for serving up a dull brand of football under Pulis.
While West Brom chairman John Williams and the club's Chinese owner, Guochaun Lai are reportedly prepared to take their time before appointing a replacement, they are also aware of the need of replacing Pulis as swiftly as possible given the number of crucial fixtures coming up.