Watford are poised to appoint their third manager of the season following the sacking of Quique Sanchez Flores, with Chris Hughton the heavy favourite for the role.
The Premier League’s bottom club on Sunday dispensed with Sanchez Flores after just 85 days in charge and expect to imminently announce his replacement.
Former Brighton boss Hughton is the current frontrunner for the vacancy ahead of the Hornets’ trip to high-flying Leicester on Wednesday.
The 60-year-old has been out of work since being sacked by the Seagulls at the end of last term and is thought to be eager for a top-flight return having reportedly turned down approaches from Championship clubs.
Sam Allardyce, Paul Clement and former Real Betis boss Quique Setien have also been linked with the position.
Spaniard Sanchez Flores, who was also in charge at Vicarage Road for the 2015-16 season, replaced sacked compatriot Javi Gracia on September 7.
Watford chief executive Scott Duxbury said the 54-year-old’s failure to improve results had forced another change of management.
“The appointment of a new head coach is imminent and, with nearly two-thirds of the season remaining, we will provide all the support necessary to make the coming months successful,” Duxbury said in a statement.
“Quique is a man of great integrity and it was clear how much he wanted to have a positive impact, but ultimately results have dictated our decision.”
Saturday’s 2-1 loss at fellow strugglers Southampton, which left Watford rooted to the foot of the table and six points from safety, proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Sanchez Flores.
He won just one of 10 league games and suffered an 8-0 hammering at Manchester City in September.
Sanchez Flores expressed gratitude and offered encouraging words to the club and its supporters.
“I would love to say a big thank you from my heart for the appreciation, respect and support that I’ve felt in each moment I’ve lived in the lovely family that Watford FC is,” he said in an open letter on the club website.
“I wish you all the best. Stay strong. You’ll always be in my heart.”