Steve McClaren remained Newcastle’s head coach on Friday morning despite the club holding advanced talks with Rafael Benitez.
McClaren left the Magpies’ training headquarters on Thursday afternoon still waiting to learn his fate with managing director Lee Charnley yet to either formally dispense with his services or hold face-to-face talks with the Spaniard.
However, the 54-year-old’s reign appears to be drawing to a close with the club desperately seeking a solution to a crisis which has seen it plunge deep into relegation trouble with just 10 games of the Premier League season remaining.
The ongoing indecision is hardly helping matters with Monday night’s trip to leaders Leicester looming large and McClaren ostensibly still in charge of preparations six days after a 3-1 home defeat by Bournemouth looked to have pushed him to the brink.
Newcastle are yet to hold a pre-match press conference, as they are required to do, for that fixture and no announcement as to when it is scheduled to take place has been made.
Benitez has emerged as the leading contender to fill the vacancy – should there be one – after the club put out feelers following a meeting of the football board, minus McClaren, on Monday.
The Spaniard’s camp has indicated he is willing to take on the challenge of staving off relegation and dealing with what may lie beyond in talks with intermediaries, but while reports from his native country on Thursday suggested he has agreed a three-year deal, Charnley is yet to press the button.
He has been charged with the task of safeguarding the club’s top-flight status just nine months after appointing McClaren and overseeing an Â£82million redevelopment of the squad, and neither have proved particularly successful.
Charnley cannot afford to get it wrong this time around with an estimated Â£100million at stake in terms of the new broadcast deal, which is due to come into force at the start of next season.