Roberto Di Matteo has left Aston Villa after just 12 games and one win as manager with the club 19th in the Sky Bet Championship.
He was only appointed by new owner Tony Xia in June to take Villa back to the Premier League at the first attempt but the chairman acted following Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Preston. Here, Press Association Sport looks at the contenders to replace him and become the club's fifth permanent manager since 2014.
DAVID WAGNER (HUDDERSFIELD)
The 44-year-old has taken the Terriers to the top of the Championship and they are two points clear of second placed Norwich after a 1-0 win at Ipswich on Saturday. Huddersfield are already 15 points ahead of Villa and, while a move to the Midlands would be to a bigger club, the German sees Town as a long-term project and does not seem the kind to jump ship after being appointed just under a year ago.
MICK McCARTHY (IPSWICH)
There was interest in the former Republic of Ireland boss under the previous regime following relegation from the Premier League in May and McCarthy is a battled-hardened Championship manager. There are rumblings of discontent at Portman Road after a fourth game without a goal in their Huddersfield loss but McCarthy has done a fine job with little cash to spend.
DEAN SMITH (BRENTFORD)
A boyhood Villa fan Smith has taken Brentford to seventh in the early Sky Bet Championship table after joining them from Walsall last December. He did a splendid rebuilding job during five years at Walsall as he took them from rock bottom of Sky Bet League One to promotion contenders. Although on a much larger scale, Villa need someone for the long haul who is able to revive the club and if he was given the time Smith would be the ideal choice.
NIGEL PEARSON (DERBY)
The ex-Leicester boss was interviewed in the summer but ended up going to Derby yet could be available after a falling out with owner Mel Morris led to his suspension last week. Any move for Pearson would mean Villa must deal with the baggage he carries and that is likely to turn them off but he has a track record of saving clubs after his successful second spell at Leicester.
STEVE BRUCE (UNATTACHED)
While some Villa fans may be concerned over the 55-year-old's Birmingham connections following his time at St Andrew's, Bruce has promotion pedigree in the Championship having taken Blues and Hull up before. He is available and still lives in the Midlands having been keen on the job previously. It would be a safe choice and Bruce has the calibre to help lift Aston Villa off its knees.
SAM ALLARDYCE (UNATTACHED)
It would be a surprise to see the former England manager return to work so quickly after he left the national job after just 67 days in charge following the Daily Telegraph's investigation into corruption. There are still unresolved issues to his departure which could block any move for him and Villa are not in a position to mess around and need to get the appointment right.