Roy Hodgson is reportedly in talks to return to Crystal Palace following the sacking of his successor Patrick Vieira.
Vieira replaced former England boss Hodgson, now 75, in 2021 but the club are reportedly considering turning back the clock after losing faith in the Frenchman.
Palace declined to comment when contacted by the PA news agency.
Hodgson seemed set for retirement when he left Palace 18 months ago but accepted a firefighting mission at Watford last year and unsuccessfully tried to steer the Hornets away from relegation.
He hinted at the time that his long and eventful career was drawing to a close – saying “I don’t think I’ll be putting my name forward for any more stories in the world of Premier League football” – but his resolve could still be stretched a last spell on his old territory.
Any deal would likely be short-term, possibly by the end of the current campaign. Immediately afterwards, former club captain Paddy McCarthy will lead the side against Arsenal on Sunday, with Under-21 coach Darren Powell and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely helping.
Palace have held 12th for nine consecutive weeks but recent form, 12 games in all competitions without a win and just five goals scored, has left the south London side just three points clear of the relegation zone with 11 games to go.
While Hodgson’s candidacy appears to be making headway, the likes of Jesse Marsch, who has been out of work since he was sacked by Leeds last month, former Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, Lucien Favre and Adi Hutter have all been linked.
Palace chairman Steve Parish insisted the mood at his club remained upbeat after Vieira’s departure.
“The players are doing well and everyone is really looking forward to Sunday,” Palace co-owner Parish told Sky Sports.
“The feeling is good. You know, everyone really loved Patrick. The players had all the time in the world for him. You saw from the performances that he never lost the players at all, they all ran and played for him.
“I think it just didn’t work out, so the mood was good, it was ok, but of course we hope there’s a bit of a breath of fresh air, some other ideas, maybe we’ll surprise the competition a bit by doing something do other .
“We have good players, we have a good squad, we have good lads. They will follow Patrick and they will follow Paddy and they will follow Darren and they will do what is best for the football club.
“Everyone is positive and wants to do their best and believe that we can win football games. I’m not going to tell you it’s amazing today because Patrick left because Patrick is a great guy and people loved working with him.
“I’m sure he’ll go ahead and be as successful elsewhere as we were last year and he might learn from the spots where it got a little bit out of hand and I really hope he does . It’s just soccer, isn’t it?”
McCarthy was leading the team through training when news of Vieira’s departure broke, telling Palace TV: “In strange circumstances the lads showed good energy and enthusiasm.
“Obviously it’s a massive moment for myself, but ultimately it’s not about me.
“My only focus right now is getting the team ready and ready for Arsenal in the short amount of time we have, so everything will be geared towards that.
“I’m going to push all those emotions aside. Yes it will be a great opportunity for me and Darren to compete at this level but the focus is solely on setting the game plan and executing it on Sunday.”
Whilst Palace currently occupy the same spot where they finished last season, the underlying numbers look wildly different – their combined 21 goals in 27 games this season are fewer than any other Premier League side save for Wolves, Everton and Southampton (20) and barely half their tally, 37, at the same stage last term.